A brand new team is ready to take on the GRC Lites.
Dirtfish Motorsports will be a collaboration between DirtFish Rally School and Tanner Whitten, a 22 year old GRC newcomer, but no stranger to racing.
“It’s a natural progression,” says Dirtfish General Manager Malcolm ‘Mac’ McInnis. “So many drivers train at the school, our instructors, techs and mechanics are all involved in Rallycross racing and we’ve been approached before about taking this step. The timing is right now.”
Whitten, of Congerville, Illinois, has been racing since he could operate the controls. Boats and motorcycles were his early passions, but at age 10 he graduated to the USAC .25 Quarter Midget Series, winning 15 features and a Regional Championship his rookie year.
In 2009, Whitten moved on to USAC’s Ford Focus series, where he took the checkered at the historic 500th Ford Focus Feature. Rookie of the Year honors followed in 2010 in the NASCAR Whelen Late Model Series with two feature wins, and the next year saw Whitten in Charlotte, NC with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
Whitten left oval racing in 2012, making his road-racing debut at Sebring International Raceway in a 2013 Porsche Cayman R for Isringhausen Motorsports, then winning at New Jersey Motorsports Park in the Intercontinental Trophy Cup Series. His limited Rallycross experience is impressive nonetheless, as the first American to drive the prototype GRC Lites car in a private test, and clocking the fastest time in the first public tests of the car. Whitten has also trained extensively at Dirtfish Rally School.
Thoughts from the team owner
“There’s pressure,” Whitten says of being handed the keys to a brand new race team with a lofty goal, “but I’ve been ready for this for a long time. I’ve felt pressure before, it’s part of racing. But Mac and Stephen have been so awesome and this opportunity is a blessing, I can’t let them down. We’re out to win a Championship.”
Whitten is referring to Dirtfish Rally School founder Stephen Rimmer, a life-long Rally enthusiast, car collector and club racer during his boyhood days back in England. He opened the school in 2010 on the site of a former lumber mill providing unequaled opportunities for vehicle testing, specialist training or corporate and team-building events. On putting all of a new team’s eggs in one rookie basket, McInnis and the Dirtfish staff are impressed with what they see in Whitten.
“He’s smart, he’s aware, he’s a young man who thinks about things and thinks things through. He loves to drive and he’s a good driver,” McInnis says. The association between Dirtfish and Whitten is the first step in what the school hopes to become a formal Rally/Rallycross driver development program.
Dirtfish Motorsports plans a full 2015 GRC Lites schedule of 12 races kicking off May 31 in St. Petersburg, FL. For more information visit DirtFish.com or call: 1-866-285-1332