Tanner Foust’s first two Red Bull Global Rallycross seasons with Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross were up and down, to say the least. While teammate Scott Speed contended for the title with three victories in 2014, Foust languished at ninth in the standings with only one win in New York. 2015 was a significant step up, as the two-time Supercar champion rebounded to third in points with three wins, but it was Speed who gave the team its first title in Las Vegas. With that being said, 2016 would be another fresh start for Foust. Now in its second full season, the VARX Beetle would benefit greatly from a full year of competition, both in terms of speed and reliability. But the switch to BFGoodrich Tires for the 2016 season would also affect the entire field, as the brand-new compound would affect both weekend strategy and driving style. As the series descended upon Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, the question was which driver would adapt to both the new track and new tires first. The answer: Foust—who led every single lap he ran during the entire doubleheader weekend. “I like the track!” Foust said after taking the first victory of the season on Saturday. “It’s a real Jekyll and Hyde kind of a
track. You’ve got the road course, where you need to be real buttery smooth, and you’ve got that chaotic gravel when you are coming over the jump with tire stacks at 80 miles per hour. So there is a lot of the fun factor and technical spots!” But as easy as he made it look, the truth was, the weekend was anything but. In fact, Foust’s Sunday victory was only made possible by a desperate effort from his crew between the second round heats and semifinals to replace his transmission. “It’s great that it looked pretty straightforward from the outside,” he explained. “Behind the scenes, the team absolutely thrashed before the semifinals. They did an hour and 20 minute job in under an hour to change the transmission. We literally used every single minute that we had, drove right out and took the semifinals, and that was all Volkswagen Andretti right there. So thank you guys very much—that was an epic thrash.” While Red Bull GRC remained on bias-ply tires for the third season in a row, the new compound reintroduced grooved tires to the dry-weather compound after two seasons of slick tires. The result was a quicker tire that impressed everyone in the paddock—especially the double Phoenix winner.
“We’re really impressed with the tires,” Foust added. “We certainly didn’t see much drop off in times, which is impressive because these tires come up to operating temperature pretty much in the first 50 feet. So they’re very, very soft, and you would expect them to really drop off after sliding around for 10 laps. But amazingly, they’re still good. “They also handled the loads well—they seemed to be handling the jumps and
have a pretty good grip on the gravel.” When all was said and done, Foust would take four victories in 11 starts in 2016, leading the championship for most of the year. While Speed would edge him for the title by six points, Foust became the first driver in Red Bull GRC history to finish in the top three in the Supercar standings on five separate occasions.