Here’s a motorsports fact that’s not often considered: Off-road racing in an automobile does not require the use of a driver’s license. While that might not mean much to a license-carrying adult, for 15-year-old Mitchell DeJong it means the world. A world full of championships.
Hailing from Temecula, California, Mitchell is a nine-time off-road champion whose victories include several seasons in both the TORC and Lucas Oil Off Road series. Not bad for someone born in 1997. This year, Mitchell is throwing his racing gloves into a new type of motorsport, the all-new Global Rallycross Lites series.
Based on the popular Rallycross discipline that debuted at the 2010 Summer X Games, GRC Lites similarly pits drivers in wheel-to-wheel racing in a technical course across varying surfaces. GRC Lites differs from its bigger Rallycross brother in that it is a spec series where all of the competitors drive fully-prepped Ford Fiesta ST race cars instead of vehicles of varying makes and models.
Although GRC Lites forgoes the use of turbochargers found in the more powerful Rallycross machines, the all-wheel-drive Ford Fiestas still produce a stout 310 horsepower, making for tight racing that all comes down to driving ability, aka skill. Something the precocious teen has, in spades.
“I'm living my dreams,” said DeJong. “Now, if I can just find time to take my drivers permit test, I may be able to legally drive a car like this on the city streets when I'm finally old enough!"
Watch Mitchell in his #24 Red Bull GRC Lites Ford Fiesta ST this weekend at the inaugural Global Rallycross Lites race from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
Saturday, July 13, 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Tech: GRC Lites Ford Fiesta ST
Built by the rallycross masters, Olsbergs MSE, the GRC Lites Ford Fiesta ST has been built for insane acceleration and hyper agility. Here’s how:
Engine: 2.4-liter Duratec engine built by Mountune/Olsbergs
Engine output: 310 horsepower (bhp); 220 lb-ft of torque
Crankshaft: forged steel
Pistons: forged pistons
Engine management system: AEM Infinity
Transmission: 6-speed 4x4 Sadev sequential
Brakes: Alcon 4-piston calipers
Brake rotors: 330mm discs
Handbrake: Sadev WRC version
Shocks: Ohlins TTX44 twin tube with Progressive Damping System
Wheels: forged Motegi Racing
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