Red Bull GRC 2017 Season Preview: Oliver Eriksson
TEAM: #16 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe
2016 RESULTS: 11 starts, 2 wins, 5 podiums, 11 heat wins; 447 points, 2nd overall (Lites)
2016 IN REVIEW: Five points separated the younger son of Olsbergs MSE principal Andreas Eriksson from becoming GRC Lites’ first back-to-back champion. Those points were lost in an early incident in the Los Angeles finale, and a spirited drive back through the pack fell one spot short of forcing a tiebreaker that Eriksson would have won. Still, a class-leading 11 heat victories and two victories were nothing to be ashamed of during an extremely consistent year.
WHAT’S NEW: Twice as much horsepower and the rest of the field! Eriksson joins Lites title winner Cabot Bigham in the move up to Supercar this year, joining OMSE’s big squad alongside returning drivers Sebastian Eriksson (no relation) and Mitchell deJong, himself a former Lites champion. After testing the Honda Civic Coupe for the first time in the offseason, he’ll get to make his race debut in Memphis as the Red Bull GRC mainstays return to three full-time cars.
OUTLOOK: It’s a deep field, but Eriksson is a legitimate dark horse championship pick. Remember, OMSE has some success with promoting Lites drivers to a Supercar: Joni Wiman took the title in 2014, and Sebastian Eriksson was second in 2015. And Oliver’s past two years in Lites have shown that he’s just as qualified as both of those drivers were to make the jump. He’s been patient and hasn’t rushed into the Supercar—that patience could pay off in a big way.
Photo credit: Louis Yio (1); Larry Chen (2)