I caught up with the two time champion and all-time wins record holder after the event to discuss how his Volkwagen Andretti Rallycross team has improved after their successful end to 2015.
Tanner Foust Interview
Dominik Wilde: When we spoke in DC VARX was going through something of a rough patch, but after that the team was almost unstoppable. Do you think all of the kinks are now ironed out and you guys will be the team to beat from the off in 2016?
Tanner Foust: Whenever you introduce a new car to competition, there’s a learning curve as the driver and the team work to figure out how to tap into all of its potential. By the end of last season, the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team was tough to beat. The Volkswagen team won almost half of the races in GRC last year and, with Scott winning the championship, I know we’ve got a target on our backs this year. Winning the first two rounds of GRC in 2016 has certainly proven that we are committed to keeping our spot at the top.
Dominik Wilde: With such a strong end to the 2015, has the team many any changes in the off-season? How does a team at the top of the sport go even further?
Tanner Foust: The way to keep winning in racing is to keep working. It’s the same for anybody: if you sit back and spend the off-season admiring your results from the previous year, your competition will get ahead of you. After running a full season on the Volkswagen Beetle GRC car in 2015, we identified a few things we could improve over the winter. And with a new tire for the series this year, I know we aren’t the only team that put some time into vehicle setup.
Dominik Wilde: Ultimately it was your team mate that finished last season at the top of the standings, despite you getting more wins. Does having that extra victory in '15 give you a confidence boost as you look to get a third title in 2016 or does it not change anything?
Tanner Foust: This is our third year working together on the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team and we both bring different skill sets to the table that I think have made us faster as a team. There’s nothing better than knowing there’s a guy out there in the same equipment that you know you can battle. It’s great motivation.
Dominik Wilde: Besides Scott, who do you think will pose the biggest threat in this year's title battle?
Tanner Foust: Every single driver in this field is capable of winning races so you can’t count anybody out. Patrik Sandell seems to show the best speed as the M-Sport cars are very strong but OMSE can never be overlooked with their consistency.
Dominik Wilde: Half of the venues for this season are new ones, is there any place in particular you're looking forward to going to this season?
Tanner Foust: I’m looking forward to getting back to Seattle. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been there with the series and the Pacific Northwest fans are incredible. We’re at a new venue for GRC this time, but I have spent a lot of time at that track with Formula Drift and it’s going to be fun to see that facility built out with dirt and jumps for rallycross. I’ll actually be there for drifting this year as well, so I’m doubling down on Seattle!
Image: Larry Chen