DETROIT (July 29, 2015)- Following an eventful weekend that saw everything from broken ramps to troubled qualifying runs, World Stage Racing’s Brian Wong still managed to impress in his Red Bull Global Rallycross series debut with a top-five finish in Detroit. Competing in his first-ever event, in fact his first-ever time on dirt, the 26-year old went from last to fifth during Sunday’s race.
“It was an incredible event, I had so much fun,” stated Wong. “We came in this weekend with no real understanding of what to expect, but by time Sunday’s race hit we had a really fast car, and I think with a little more seat time we’ll be right up with the front pack. I couldn’t believe the fan turnout. What an incredible job this series does to bring everyone in, it was amazing. Everyone at Rhys Millen Racing did an excellent job of getting me prepared and providing a fast car, thanks to everyone at World Stage Racing for making the opportunity possible. Rhys was especially helpful. I came in to this race knowing very little, but he really made a strong effort to help coach me through. With all of the experience he has it was especially beneficial, and that went a long way.”
Competing in the spec-built Lites category, Brian would take to his No. 89 machine courtesy of Rhys Millen Racing, a storied team built around the legendary Rhys Millen, who has accomplished such feats as setting a new world record to top his many victories at Pikes Peak, victories in Formula Drift, as well as Time Attack. Rhys is part of the larger Millen family, one of the most historic names in all of off-road racing, with accomplishments in various forms of motorsport through the decades.
Hailing from Newport Beach, California, the opportunity was made available to Brian via World Stage Racing, a motorsport-based organization dedicated to engaging millenials living in a digital space, with a core focus on bridging the gap between Chinese and American businesses. With the unique format of Rallycross managing to reach a whole new audience in the world of motorsports, the time was right for the organization to look at the emerging series.
With a huge attendance on hand during the Detroit round, matching the expectations set by the growing series all year, World Stage Racing’s investment in to Red Bull Global Rallycross has proven successful. Always looking to find new venues for motorsport reach, the engagement of a large, demographically favorable crowd at Detroit, was exactly the sort of find the organization has been looking for.
Having never driven off-road, nor (deliberately) jumped a car, the entire experience of the Red Bull Global Rallycross, which combines pavement racing with ramps and elements of dirt, was new to Wong. With vast experience in stock cars and sports cars, the Californian came in to Friday’s practice with zero experience in his machine.
Compounding the issue, the track’s ramp, which creates the series’ signature jumps during the event, continued to have maintenance issues forcing the practice sessions to be cut short. Brian would only manage three laps before the day was called to an end.
While there had been hope for Saturday to feature an increased number of practice sessions in order to prepare him for his first-ever series of heat races, continuing problems with the track’s ramp would cancel activity for the first half of the day. This would mean Brian’s first real series of laps would come in Saturday’s opening heat! Despite this, the Chinese-American would advance to the final, ultimately taking seventh after a steady run.
For Sunday’s second race, a more regular schedule would allow Brian to get much-needed track time.
Following the morning’s opening practice sessions, Brian headed in to Sunday’s qualifying full of optimism for a good day. Unfortunately, on his first flying lap he would encounter a mechanical issue after landing the jump, cutting his session short and forcing him to start last.
After surviving the last-chance-qualifying heat race to make the main event, Wong would start from the back of the field, with nowhere to go but forward.
Improving his lap times throughout the final heat, Brian would drive with a steady mix of patience and aggression to move his way up the field, ultimately chasing down the leaders to finish fifth.
Beyond his on-track performance, Wong was also a hit with fans, bringing his unique branding that only World Stage can provide. During the autograph session, which drew in hundreds of fans, the Chinese-American opted not to give out the traditional autographed photo, but instead a series rubber sheep in honor of the 2015 Chinese zodiac.
Having enjoyed the experience, Brian and the entire organization at World Stage Racing are now halfway through a busy summer, with several more events on the queue for the coming weeks, including possible increased involved in Global Rallycross. The team will make several announcements in the coming weeks.
Coverage of the Lites category event can be seen today, July 29, at 4:30 PM ET.