First female to race in Global Rallycross Championship
Emma Gilmour to Join Rhys Millen Racing as the First Female Driver in the Global Rallycross Championship Series
New Zealand’s Emma Gilmour will compete in a new, two-car team with world champion driver Rhys Millen over 10 Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) rounds in the United States this year.
The announcement was made this morning by Hyundai Motor America in conjunction with Rhys Millen Racing (RMR) a day before the GRC pre-season demo day in Lake Elsinore, California.
Not only will Emma be the first female to rip up the dirt-and tarmac-based circuits throughout North America in the GRC, the Dunedin-based driver will also be one of the two first ladies, to race in the action sports phenomenon, the X-Games, in June.
For an elated Emma, it is the pinnacle high of her already successful driving career.
“It really is a dream come true. Going to America to race in a professional series with a professional team like Rhys Millen Racing is hard to believe. I have to keep pinching myself to remind myself it isn't a dream,” she says.
“I am so excited about the opportunity and the new challenge of learning Rallycross. It’s a true privilege to be the first female driver in the GRC series. Also to be joining Australia's Sarah Burgess in making history as the first female X Games rally car drivers, racing against men, is a great honour.
Emma will be driving a highly-tuned, fully race-prepared RMR Hyundai Veloster Turbo rallycross car. Its engine generates more than 600 peak horsepower from its four-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled powerplant - guaranteeing explosive acceleration out of corners.
The GRC circuit at each venue features a series of tight turns and a large jump where the cars become airborne, with most of the circuit visible to fans for the duration of the heat. Emma’s 2014 GRC season will kick-off at the Caribbean island of Barbados at the BBC Top Gear Festival on Saturday, May 17.
“I have never raced in Rallycross but I have had experience with high horse power cars with my current Suzuki Swift Maxi rally car and driving Possum Bourne’s former hillclimb World Rally car. I have also done some endurance circuit racing in a left hand drive Porsche GT3, but no doubt the GRC will present some exciting new challenges to test my driving skills.”
Emma feels she “couldn’t be more honoured” to be teamed up with Rhys for the 2014 season. The New Zealand-born son of famed rally and off road racer Rod Millen, Rhys’ accolades include being crowned 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb champion (where he holds seven world records), 2008 Formula Drift World Champion and 2005 USA Drifting Champion.
“Rhys is one of the most sought after performance drivers, known worldwide for his legendary car control skills and combined with my years of successful rally experience, we are a perfect fit for the RMR team effort,” Emma says.
After finishing second in manufacturer’s points and third in driver’s points in the 2012 GRC, Rhys says the 2014 season holds even more promise for the Hyundai/RMR team.
“The RMR Veloster is perfect for GRC by giving enthusiasts a glimpse of affordable, fun-to-drive production cars exploited to their full race potential in an action-packed rally series. Even more, I’m especially proud to have Emma as a teammate. With many top rally drivers hailing from New Zealand, her consistent top performance is sure to impress at every stage of the series,” Rhys says.
Hyundai Motor America marketing vice president Steve Shannon said the two Velosters are definitely going to be pushed to the limit every race this season with rally veterans Rhys and Emma at the helm.
“We’re proud to team up with two drivers known for their precision and consistency, and we are especially excited to give Emma the opportunity to be the first female driver in Global Rallycross,” Steve says.
Along with her 10-race international schedule Emma is still looking forward to competing in the six-round New Zealand Rally Championship, in the radical, home-built Suzuki Swift Maxi she debuted last season.
“It’s going to be a really busy year ahead so I will be relying on a great team of people here in NZ to support me in this campaign. As always I am extremely grateful for the backing of my primary sponsors Suzuki and Vantage Aluminium Joinery and the other companies supporting my bid, including Gilmour Motors, Metalman, Supercharge, Castrol, PPG Paint, Pfitzner Performance Gearboxes, Hella, Apparelmaster, Interislander, Rothbury, Dunlop, Rock radio station, Metalspray and Arai helmets. ”
Emma Gilmour: Recent racing results
• 2nd Overall, New Zealand Rally
• 2nd Overall, Group N Rally New Zealand
• 2nd Overall, New Zealand Rally Championship
• 2nd Overall, New Zealand Rally Championship
• 2nd Overall, Production World Rally Championship, Rally New Zealand
• 2nd Overall, Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, Whangarei
• 2nd Overall, Asia-Pacific Rally Championship
EMMA GILMOUR’S 2014 GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
• May 17-18: Barbados, Top Gear Festival.
• June 7: Austin, X-Games.
• June 21-22: Washington.
• July 19-20: New York.
• July 25-26: Charlotte.
• August 2-3: Detroit.
• August 22-23: Daytona.
• September 19-20: San Pedro.
• September 26-27: Seattle.
• November 5: Las Vegas.