Austin Cindric Ready to Capitalize on Promotion to Red Bull GRC Supercar
His name has been everywhere in motorsport over the past few years, from ovals and road courses across America to endurance races in Australia. He’s managed to pick up quite a few trophies along the way, including victories in ARCA and sports cars. He even earned a promotion to the NASCAR Xfinity Series last month—for the world-renowned Team Penske, no less—and led a lap at Road America.
This weekend, though, Austin Cindric will attempt to condense all that experience into just a handful of laps when he makes his Red Bull Global Rallycross Supercar debut at Evergreen Speedway. Cindric will make the jump with Bryan Herta Rallysport, one of Red Bull GRC’s top teams and a race winner in each of the past two seasons.
“Without a doubt for me, these last few months have been super busy,” Cindric explained. “I got the call up to the event for Seattle from Bryan Herta Rallysport, and to be able to put something like this together is great. I’ve been working several years to find the right opportunity to move up into Supercar. I haven’t been in a rallycross race in over two years, but it’s definitely been on my mind. I’ve been trying to make the step up, and I think it’s the right opportunity and a way for me to remain relevant within the series.”
Of course, Cindric is no stranger to rallycross as a whole; he was one of the top drivers in GRC Lites from 2014 to 2015, winning four races, taking 11 podiums, and coming up just short of the 2015 championship with Olsbergs MSE X Forces. He’s waited nearly two years for this shot, having ended that title chase with a DNF in Las Vegas, and is more than eager to make up for lost time.
“It’s unique—that’s the big thing about it,” he continued. “There’s nothing like rallycross, especially in the US. To have that experience is great—I ran Lites for a year and a half and had quite a bit of success with that, and I made a lot of friends. So if I had the opportunity to move up, it would make sense for me to not let that experience go to waste.
“It’s one of the most unique forms of motorsports, so as it becomes more prevalent over time, it’s something I want to have in my back pocket.”
Diversity of racing experience is a defining trait of most successful Red Bull GRC drivers; while Scott Speed went from Formula 1 to NASCAR, Tanner Foust made his name in drifting and stage rally, and Steve Arpin raced everything from dirt late models to (seriously) bathtub boats. That’s one category, though, where Cindric has even some of the series’ biggest names beat, and he’ll be aiming to translate his skills from different series into a Supercar over the weekend.
“With the stage racing put in place (in NASCAR), I’ve learned to be more aggressive,” he added. “It’s important in rallycross—it’s a trait I’ve learned in rallycross and have been able to exploit. I feel like rallycross is short and aggressive. It’s directly translatable, but these are two different forms of racing. I’ll be definitely learning every time I am on the track.”
While the 19-year-old, who celebrated a birthday last Saturday, admits that it’s hard to set goals for a one-off weekend in a car he’s only shaken down once, he’s more upfront about his future. The goal of a full-time drive is certainly on Cindric’s radar, and after working on the step up for this long, it’s something he sees as well within reach for 2018 and beyond.
“The car is great and this is a proven package,” he concluded. “I’d like to think we will get a podium. The weather is always fluctuating the in Seattle area—I actually felt I was able to drive well in the rain, so maybe that’s something that can play to my favor. But there are completely no expectations, as it’s an opportunity that came up last minute.
“(Long term), this weekend is a great opportunity for me to prove myself on this stage. I think a manufacturer program is the most compatible way for me to make rallycross a full-time thing. It has stability—racing isn’t the most stable, so I’m trying to find a stable spot in the sport. It’s baby steps and I want to see how the race turns out and what next year holds.”
Red Bull Global Rallycross Seattle
Event Info: Click here // Tickets: Click here // Volunteers: Click here
Download the App: App Store // Google Play
Supercar Round 10 Finals: September 9, 4:30PM ET, NBC // Supercar Round 11 Finals: September 10, 4:30PM ET, NBC
Lites Rounds 10-11 Finals: September 13, 4:30PM ET, NBCSN
Photo credit: Louis Yio