McConnell pleased with 'Nitro'Friday, December 17, 2021
BY RORY DALEY
Fraser McConnell, Jamaican rallycross driver, is pleased with his return to North America in the five-event NitroRX series, indicating that the recently completed rallycross championship has increased his brand considerably.
“Right now, the plan going forward is to stick with NitroRX. They've built a great road map for going into electric and I can definitely see the potential in that with major manufacturers coming on board,” McConnell told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.
Earlier in the year, McConnell closed out his European campaign that included the inaugural electric RX2e Championship, and made the move back to North America where he enjoyed major success, becoming the final RX2 champion in 2019. He hoped the wider exposure of the new NitroRX series would boost his career.
“There's been a lot of turned heads this year. Basically, this has been my first full year in a super car. I say this humbly, for me to be performing at the level I am right now has been spectacular and people have been taking notice,” he said.
While McConnell wasn't able to confirm anything yet, he revealed there might be some interesting conversations to be had in the coming off-season.
Over the five-event series, McConnell started strong, racing neck-and-neck in the finals with several of the top names in the sport like Scott Speed, Travis Pastrana, and his European rivals, brothers Kevin and Timmy Hansen. In the first two rounds, he accrued enough points to be fifth overall in the NitroRX Championship.
“On paper, results-wise, the best event performance was at Utah, the opening round. We were setting the fastest times there, got roughed up in the finals, got hit off the track but was able to rejoin and make up some positions due to the length of the race. Even with a puncture.”
Since then, mechanical 'gremlins' have affected his performances such as a gearbox issue at the closing round in Florida. Overall, McConnell doesn't think his position at the end of the season told the true story of his real speed and efforts.
“For the most part, the end results never reflected or represented what we had achieved during each weekend. Every race, we were right up there with the fastest times. When the car was reliable, we were winning races and setting some fastest sector times throughout the whole series at all the different tracks. We were always on for a great result each event weekend and just again and again, stuff that was out of our control seemed to happen. It's a little frustrating.”
As this is his first full season in NitroRX, McConnell says he is okay with the idiosyncrasies of the series versus European and World Rallycross, noting NitroRX is about simplicity and broadcast entertainment. One of these methods is via battle brackets featuring head-to-head racing between two drivers, which McConnell says he enjoys.
“They are so invested in making a product that will bring new spectators and fans to the sport through making it different and exciting to regular rallycross. They're making it very TV-friendly. The battles are easy to follow for non-rallycross fans. They make the winners and losers very clear and distinct.”
For the now, McConnell indicates his team will be hard at fund-raising efforts for the next NitroRX season in 2022.