Nitrocross needs a separate identity from Rallycross – Clarke
Nitrocross president Brett Clarke says that the series’ rebrand from Nitro Rallycross was done because it doesn’t “fit within the conventional prescriptions for the sport of rallycross,”
The competition debuted in 2018 and used traditional European-derived “Supercar” rallycross cars until last year, when its top class switched to the single-make, all-electric FC1-X vehicle purpose built for the series. Aside from the vehicles, the championship also deviated from the long-standing rallycross format and either built its own tracks or radically altered existing ones to feature elements such as gap jumps and banked turns.
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The dramatic departure from traditional rallycross, along with parent company Thrill One’s background in the action sports industry — Nitro Circus and Street League Skateboarding being among its other properties — led to a rethink around the branding to highlight its uniqueness.
“Last season was fantastic, first with the debut of the FC1-X then the launch of the new Group E class,” Clarke told RACER. “It also saw the series double in size to 10 rounds. With all that growth though came a lot of learnings.
“One thing we thought, looking back, was that the brand did not fully embody the vision we have for this property. With these wild tracks — their spectacular jumps and the wide variety of surfaces drivers had to contend with — along with the intuitive formats, it goes far beyond the traditional parameters of rallycross.
“The reality is, we don’t fit within the conventional prescriptions for the sport of rallycross — our tracks are different, our formats are different, our cars are different,” he added. “The new branding is making a statement — this is a new sport, a new attitude.
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“The energy and spirit of the event — behind the wheel, in the stands and on broadcast — is closely connected to Nitro Circus, not to mention the inspiration behind it. We wanted to get closer to the Nitro Circus roots, to create a brand that breeds excitement, that thrills fans at the track and on broadcast.
The new branding doesn’t just spell a fresh start for the series on-track, but off track too, with Clarke describing the championship as “a content machine”.
“We also want Nitrocross to resonate not just during race weekends but 365 days a year,” he said. “We are building drivers into stars, across all classes. We want to take advantage of the FC1-X’s game-changing performance to create must-see moments in non-traditional environments and with big, iconic stunts.
“All in all, from the beginning, Travis and the team have set out to reinvent motorsport and redefine what’s possible in racing, and this new brand identity speaks to that.”
The upcoming season will include four locations featured in last year’s Nitro Rallycross campaign, as well as a returning one from 2018-21, an entirely new venue, and one that will be announced at a later date. Clarke revealed to RACER that those existing tracks will be changing somewhat this year as part of a wide-reaching investment plan across all of the series’ venues.
“We’re also doubling down on our investment in our track builds and development,” he divulged. “Our tracks will continue to evolve, including exciting changes to existing tracks on our schedule.”