Adding one more type of racing to his long resume.
Nur Ali has never shied away from a new challenge. Whether it was earning the distinction of becoming the first professional Pakistani-born race car driver, competing internationally in A1 Grand Prix - World Cup of Motorsports, NASCAR or the ARCA Racing Series, Ali has taken it all on. In 2015, the Trophy Club, TX native will take on perhaps the biggest challenge of his 17-year career when he enters the Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) Lites Series.
Introduced in 2013, GRC Lites is the official driver development class of Red Bull Global Rallycross. Its races feature 310 bhp, all-wheel drive spec vehicles built to emphasize driver skill over mechanical advantage. Competing on the same courses as the Red Bull GRC, the Lites class is designed to provide future stars with the ideal rallycross training ground. The tracks feature some of the most diverse and technical challenges in the world of motorsport. Between a half and one mile in length, they feature a mixture of dirt and tarmac, as well as various other obstacles.
"Competing in GRC was something I had thought about," said Ali. "But I never really thought it would happen. A few months ago when the opportunity was presented to me, I was stoked. I couldn't say yes fast enough."
Ali developed his passion for motorsports at a young age but knew education had to be his main priority. After earning a BA in International Relations at American University in 1998, he enrolled in the Skip Barber School of Racing. Since then, he has gone on to compete for Team Pakistan in A1GP, capture two Formula Mazda Championships, two Legends Car Championships, competed in twelve countries on five continents as well as in select NASCAR Xfinity Series and ARCA Racing Series races.
Off the asphalt
Ali's racing experience has come on asphalt but the GRC formula is still familiar to him.
"GRC tracks are made up of dirt and tarmac but it's still road racing," said Ali. "Road racing is where I'm most comfortable and have the most experience. Racing on dirt is something new to me though. Prior to some recent testing, I had never intentionally put a race car into a slide. I learned that it's absolutely as fun as it looks. I can't wait to get this season started."
Ali has teamed up with San Bernardino, CA-based AFRacing which has expanded to a two-car team in 2015. He will pilot the No. 42 entry and joins Alejandro Fernandez, the team's current driver who finished third in the 2014 GRC Lites Championship.
"Nur is a welcome addition to AFRacing," said team principal David Fernandez. "He brings a wealth of racing experience to the team. With Alejandro and Nur, we have two drivers with completely different skill sets providing feedback. It will only makes us stronger and more competitive."
Ali agreed with Fernandez.
"Having an experienced and proven team was important to me," said Ali. "Last season, AFRacing showed they were contenders. My road racing experience combined with Alejandro's full season in GRC Lites will only make our program even more successful."
Tweaker Energy Company, based in Dallas, TX, will continue its partnership with Ali and join him in the GRC Lites Championship for the 2015 season. Additional partners will be announced at a later date.
"Motorsports has been a cornerstone of our marketing efforts since we started," said Nick Mihnovets, VP of Tweaker Energy Company. "Nur introduced us to the sport a few years back and we are excited to join him in GRC Lites in 2015 and beyond."