Written by, Owen Rumpel
l..Ready or not, here comes NRX Calgary! Today was the first in-person look at the purpose built track for Nitro Rally Cross, perfectly nestled amongst the rodeo grounds and chuckwagon track of GMC Stadium, at the Calgary Stampede Park. With tight turns, long straightaways, sweeping banked turns, a large table top jump front and centre and a tunnel section running below a part of the track. This race is set to be everything rally fans have hoped for.
Lets start by looking at the track layout. The start line is positioned at the South West end of the chuckwagon track. For those not familiar with the Calgary Stampede, the chucks run on a 1/2 mile (0.80KM) oval dirt track. Immediately after the race starts the cars will race down a long straight followed by a sweeping left turn with little reduction in their speed. A second straight where the cars should reach a speed of around 70MPH (112KM/H), perfect for the tabletop right in front of the stands, where they will be airborne for approximately 100FT. After landing the drivers are met with a medium left turn, followed by a tight banked right and another left, leading them back to the first straight. Sounds like an amazing track right? We haven’t even talked about the Joker lap yet. For anyone new to the sport, the Joker lap is an additional portion of track that every driver is required to take once per race. Splitting off from the end of the first straight is a right hand turn, followed by a tight right. This leads to a well lit tunnel that races beneath the track, perfect for night racing. A medium right and are hard left are all that remain before you join the track at the start of the second straight. To add to the excitement, the finish line is just in front of the tabletop jump, hopefully resulting in some airborne celebrations.
Now that we’ve covered the layout lets talk about the construction of these twists and turns of ice. Over the past two months, man and machine have worked the course into the land, with most of the all important ice work having taken place over the last two weeks, thanks to the cold temperatures. Built slowly upon a hard packed layer of snow, layer by layer water trucks have built up the ice with a round the clock schedule. Millimetres at a time, 3.5 million gallons (13.2 million litres) of water has grown to a 50cm (19.6 in) layer of ice, exactly what is needed for the aggressively studded tires to work as intended.
That’s your first look at the track these high performance E.V. race cars will be tearing up this Saturday and Sunday, February 4-5th. Grab your tuque and jacket, and make your way down to Stampede Park for an unforgettable weekend of high speed fun.