Meet the Red Bull Global Rallycross Safety Team
Without the skills and expertise of highly trained safety professionals, no racing series would be able to stage an event. Response Motorsports Safety serves as the Official Safety Team of Red Bull Global Rallycross, sending a traveling crew to every Red Bull GRC event over the past three years.
Red Bull GRC Safety Team members have accrued decades of experience working in various racing disciplines, from marquee NASCAR races to sports car and off-road events. Away from Red Bull GRC events, the safety team remains active year-round in various capacities at iconic tracks like Daytona International Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, and Auto Club Speedway.
“Red Bull GRC is one of a handful of racing series that has a traveling safety team, let alone a series doctor and medical coordinator that travels to all events,” explains Red Bull GRC vice president of competition, Joey Mancari. “This is a very big commitment to safety that we feel is necessary for the operation of our series.
“The team and Doc (Robert) Genzel are committed to the safety of the series competitors, team members, officials and fans. Since they travel with the series, they know everyone that is part of the series, which helps with their assessment when they arrive on scene for an incident.”
The role of the safety team goes far beyond simply assisting drivers who need attention after an incident. Its members also claim responsibility for a number of on-track safety initiatives, from the installation of safety lights around the course and the start lights on the grid to track surface maintenance before, during, and after race events. They’ve even helped escort the 600-horsepower Supercars to the Atlantic City Boardwalk for the series’ annual parade.
However, some of its most famous moments have come in response to thrilling on-track incidents. From the fires that ended races for Scott Speed, Nelson Piquet Jr., and Toshi Arai last season, to rollovers by GRC Lites drivers Cyril Raymond in Louisville and Christian Brooks in Atlantic City this year, the Safety Team is always first on the scene.
Safety team members are stationed in various locations around the course. A dispatch member works from race control, giving team members the all clear to take to the track. At least two team members are assigned to the series’ tool and fire trucks, which are positioned for quick access to the course in the event of an emergency. Also on course is the series’ doctor car, helmed by the series doctor and medical director.
One of the team’s greatest assets is its ability to adapt to any situation. When Tanner Foust suffered a DNF in Atlantic City heats, with both of the left side wheels on his Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle destroyed, safety team members quickly devised a plan with Foust’s race team to deploy the car to the paddock without causing any further damage. Using a forklift and lift straps, the same method that allowed them to get Foust’s car on the flatbed, they were able to safely lower the car in the paddock, enabling VARX to quickly replace the wheels and roll the car back into its pit space.
Meet the Red Bull Global Rallycross Safety Team:
- Doctor Robert Genzel: Red Bull Global Rallycross Series Doctor and Medical Director. He is also a staff physician, Emergency Medicine at Harris Methodist Hospital, Fort Worth Texas, Medical Director, Texas Motor Speedway.
- Rob Sease: Red Bull Global Rallycross Safety Team Director, On-site incident commander and Rally Fire/Extrication Tool Truck #1 Captain. Owner of Response Motorsports Safety.
- Ramin Shute-Mahini: Rally Fire/Extrication Tool Truck #2 Captain. Track Safety Coordinator at Phoenix International Raceway.
- Gabe Wiley: Red Bull Global Rallycross Safety Team and Track Services Coordinator and Race Control dispatch.
- Michael Donovan: Red Bull Global Rallycross Safety Team member, Track Services Coordinator at IMSA and NASCAR, Track Services team member at Autoclub Speedway, Battalion Chief at Capstone Fire and Safety Management
- Scott Roeger: Red Bull Global Rallycross Safety Team member, Former member of IndyCar Holmatro Safety Team
- Chad Dunham: Red Bull Global Rallycross Safety Team member, Lieutenant at Linn County (IA) Hazmat Team, NASCAR Track Services Team member/Firefighter at Iowa Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway
- Matthew Roudabush: Red Bull Global Rallycross Safety Team member, Fire Fighter/Medic, Lieutenant at Lake County (FL) Fire & Rescue
- Mike Machula: Red Bull Global Rallycross Safety Team member, Safety Team Member, Iowa Speedway & Kansas Speedway
Photo credit: Louis Yio