Tanner Whitten has returned ‘home’ to Olsbergs MSE as he prepares to make his bow in the rebranded RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires in 2017 – and the young American has history-making success firmly in his sights.
Whitten served as a test-driver for OMSE back in 2012-13 as he helped to develop the prototype RX2 Lites car. Since then, the 24-year-old Illinois native has progressed through the ranks, contesting GRC Lites for the past two seasons and tallying two final victories, 12 heat wins, six podiums and four pole positions. He subsequently made his Supercar debut in Las Vegas last year, taking the chequered flag in sixth place.
Now, Whitten is eager to prove his prowess on the international stage in RX2 – and confident that he is ready to take the next step in his burgeoning career.
“Ever since I had the opportunity in 2012 to test the prototype RX2 car for Andreas [Eriksson – OMSE CEO and Team Principal], I have been dreaming about racing against the sport’s best in the FIA World Rallycross Championship,” revealed the 2010 NASCAR All-American Series Rookie of the Year.
“OMSE gave me my first break in the sport of rallycross, so for me it feels like I’m coming home. I am extremely excited about making the jump to a new series with a new team and new team-mates! The RX2 category has grown every year since its inception, and I couldn’t be more ready to join the 2017 class.
“I am going into the season as prepared as ever to compete for heat and final wins, and although I have only driven the RX tracks that are available on the Codemasters Dirt Rally simulator, I believe I can be a threat for the title this year.
“As the first American to contest a full season at RX2 level, I feel I have the opportunity to make history in the sport of rallycross. My team is dedicated to the continued development of its drivers and I am honoured to be a part of the programme.
“My long-term ambitions are to make a home within rallycross. I love every aspect of the sport from the cars to the competition and the extremely dedicated fans! I have never felt more at home within a community before and I would love nothing more than to race for a factory Supercar team in the future.”
“We are very pleased to support Tanner in the #11 OMSE car as he runs for the RX2 championship title this season,” added Scott Bucher, President of Whitten’s primary sponsor, award-winning marketing communications and business development firm Traction Factory. “He has shown us what he is capable of over the last two seasons, and we look forward to realising what is possible on the world stage with Tanner and the OMSE team.”
Whitten joins reigning RX Lites Champion Cyril Raymond and Swedish young gun William Nilsson in having confirmed his place on the 2017 RX2 grid. Further driver announcements will be made over the coming days and weeks.
The 2017 RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires will take in seven rounds across three continents in support of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, visiting Mettet in Belgium, Lydden Hill in Great Britain, Hell in Norway, Höljes in Sweden, Trois-Rivières in Canada, Lohéac in France and Cape Town in South Africa.