Red Bull GRC 2017 Season Preview: Cole Keatts
TEAM: #53 Olsbergs MSE X Forces GRC Lites
2016 RESULTS: 11 starts, best finish 5th; 51 points, T-17th overall (Lites)
2016 IN REVIEW: Keatts made a major jump for a 15-year-old when he went from Junior 2 off-road karts to GRC Lites last year. Backed by the powerful Olsbergs MSE squad, it was a learning year for the Lewiston, Idaho native, who adjusted to the larger car and his first race experience on pavement. Keatts’ biggest triumph came in his hometown event in Seattle, where he cracked the top five despite an early incident that sheared the rear wing off of his car.
WHAT’S NEW: After an offseason shakeup that included the promotion of Oliver Eriksson to a Supercar, Keatts is the only driver returning to OMSE’s Lites program from 2016. With a full season under his belt, the young driver can settle in this year and get comfortable, much as he has with the various off-road classes he competes in. After taking a host of victories on the dirt in the offseason, Keatts’ confidence has to be high coming into the Memphis season opener.
OUTLOOK: Though the results weren’t always what he aimed for, Keatts had plenty of breakthrough moments as a GRC Lites rookie in 2016, culminating in his biggest success of all in Washington. Having that full season under his belt will be a big difference-maker this year, as most Lites drivers seem to hit their stride as sophomores. 2017 will be telling as to what Keatts can really do in a rallycross car—and if he can return OMSE to the top step of the podium.
Photo credit: Alison Padron