Casper Jansson will make his debut in Nitrocross’ premier class, Group E, this weekend, filling in for Benito Guerra at the Olsbergs MSE team after the Mexican withdrew from the event due to illness.
Jansson, the 2021 Nitrocross NEXT champion, will become the first driver in the Nitrocross-era of rallycross in the U.S. to graduate directly from the discipline’s main feeder division.
“This is amazing – it’s a dream come true,” said Jansson. “The car is really great to drive. I’ve driven it twice before in testing. Now, though, it’s in competition. I’m really excited.
“This class is loaded with big names. It’s going to be really special to line up on the grid beside them.”
While graduating to the main game, Jansson will still compete in the NEXT development class this weekend. The likes of Travis Pastrana and Tanner Foust have run in Side-by-Side rounds alongside their top-level commitments on occasion in Nitrocross, but Jansson’s double-duty outing will mark the first time a driver has run in the top two tiers since Nelson Piquet Jr. ran in both Global Rallycross and GRC Lites in Washington DC in 2014. The former-Formula 1 driver took third in Lites before going one better in Supercars, the headline class of the time.
“We’ve had the opportunity to get a lot of experience in the NEXT car and I’m feeling really comfortable in it. We’re fortunate to be on a good run and I look forward to battling for the podium here in Phoenix,” Jansson said. “[But] when you get a chance like this you need to take it.”
Guerra, who took a best result of the season so far with fourth in the first part of the Utah double-header in August, is expected to return for the trip to Glen Helen Raceway in California at the start of December.