2016 Season Review: Rhys Millen Racing (GRC Lites)
Rhys Millen is well known as one of the world’s foremost precision drivers, from his racing exploits in Red Bull Global Rallycross and at Pikes Peak to his numerous accolades as a stunt driver for film and television. But in recent years, he’s also become one of GRC Lites’ most important team owners, a mentor for numerous drivers in Red Bull GRC’s development class.
While Millen himself made five Supercar starts in 2016, four different drivers got behind the wheel for his Lites program this year, mostly in the first half of the season. The team also extended its streak of reaching the podium in three consecutive seasons along the way:
Collete Davis (11th, Lites; 94 points)
After a challenging debut season in 2015, Davis shifted her program to RMR in a move that paid immediate dividends. A second-place finish in Saturday Phoenix heats set her up for a podium result until contact with Travis PeCoy ended her race early. Still, she rebounded the next day for a top-five result, and added another fifth-place run at MCAS New River—a special race for her as the daughter of a United States service member. Although she didn’t compete after New River, she scored enough points in six starts to hold a top-10 spot for most of the year.
Blake “Bilko” Williams (14th, Lites; 75 points)
Continuing the transition from two wheels to four, Williams upped his Lites program from three rounds in 2015 to a scheduled six in 2016. Hitting the doubleheaders at Daytona, MCAS New River, and Los Angeles, the points figure doesn’t fully tell the story of his season. A runner-up finish at New River was the highlight of the year, but the former X Games gold medalist shone even more brightly in Los Angeles, placing second in both of his Saturday heats before trouble in the main event kept him from earning another podium.
Preston Murray (20th, Lites; 33 points)
Jumping into the second RMR Lites car in Phoenix on short notice, and making his first-ever starts in the class, Murray’s results were fairly impressive. Third-place finishes in the second round heats on both days ensured that he never saw a last chance qualifier, avoiding some of the carnage that hurt more experienced drivers. In the finals, Murray placed eighth and ninth, more than respectable given the circumstances.
Nur Ali (22nd, Lites; 3 points)
A full-time Lites driver in 2015, Ali only made one start this year, returning to the wheel at his home race in Dallas. Unfortunately, the seventh-place championship finisher from last season couldn’t deliver a podium in front of his hometown fans. A fourth-place finish in his second heat was only good enough for a front-row starting spot in the LCQ, and contact with teammate Davis there ended both of their races with neither RMR car making it to the final.
Photo credit: Louis Yio (1-2, 4-5); Larry Chen (3)