Inside Story – PSRX

by Hal Ridge |

The town of Torsby in the Varmland region of Sweden sits on the route to Holjes for a large proportion of all who visit one of the biggest rounds of RallycrossRX. Three big rallycross teams can call Torsby home, and while two of the them – Helmia Motorsport and Hedstroms Motorsport – keep a low profile, the team that is based around one of the biggest characters in motorsport is a little easier to find.

Beside the E45 heading North, towards Holjes, there’s a thumping great sign at the end of an industrial estate, high on which is the logo PSRX. It can’t be easy to keep your head down if you are a former World Rally Champion, and Petter Solberg has been in the neighbourhood for a while now; his privateer WRC campaigns based here, his family home just down the road and his business having firm local links.

Solberg’s race shop lies within a collection of the buildings owned by the Norwegian. PSRX does not use all of the workshop or office space in the facility; office accommodation is let out to other businesses and a workshop area used by a local organisation that works with young people excluded from mainstream education, offering them opportunities to learn practical skills. The amount of available space also provides PSRX with the relatively unique opportunity to expand and grow into the buildings around them should they need to. “Rallycross is different from running a rally team and we are adding different facilities here now,” says Solberg. “In rallycross we can do more engineering on the car ourselves; we can make components and because these cars are all more-or-less unique it’s best that we have the equipment to do that work right here in the shop; we could go outside and get it done but when the machines are here it means we can walk into the machine room and modify or make a part anytime, we are not waiting for anyone else.”

Despite the drive to bring skills and production processes in-house, Solberg also knows when it is better to contract-out, as he explained in December when RallycrossWorld visited Torsby; “Neither of the rallycross cars are here right now. We stripped the first car and made some changes and then the shell went to be painted. The shell for the new car is being built at IGM, we will get it from them and assemble the car here. It’s still best for us to use outside companies for work like the fabrication of the bodyshell,” says Solberg, who is one of the most commercially savvy people in the business. This is highlighted by the teams drive to add to the engineering abilities of PSRX, and linking them with existing partners. The fully equipped machine shop that nestles beneath the mezzanine, has been supplemented by a welding and fabrication room in part of the building formally used for storage. “Keeping the different jobs separate is better for everyone, we need to be able to keep the cars in a clean area and have the different spaces for machines or welding. We are also working with our partners on those different spaces. The machine room and the welding area will both be branded and are spaces that the sponsors can use to show their customers the products in operation as well as seeing the race team and the cars. It’s a good way for us to work more closely with the sponsor and to show in a practical way how we use the products.”

As with other teams operating on this scale, PSRX has accommodation and domestic facilities for engineering staff on-site. A notable difference at PSRX to many race teams is that the administrative staff of the team share a large open-plan working area on a mezzanine that overlooks the main raceshop. “We have space where we can go and work separately or have a meeting, but when everyone is working out here together we are more joined together with the rest of the team, the engineers working on the cars, and that’s good for everyone,” says Solberg.

This is the personality-led team, and one that has been sculpted around Solberg as a driver more than any other team we have visited so far in this series. While PSRX is coming to terms with the finer points of rallycross, it is ahead of the game in terms of commercial activities and its PR programme. No-one is more active promotionally than Solberg and what happens on that mezzanine floor with its coffee bar and quietly sociable working atmosphere is at least as important as what happens on the raceshop beneath. As if to visually link the two sides of the team, a massive screen is visible from both the mezzanine and the workshop, this relaying the latest news from the PSRX social media feeds, and it’s that type of unity that Solberg hopes will make PSRX stronger for the season ahead, and brings a results haul from both himself and team-mate Alexander Hvaal that mirrors the time, effort and investment that the Norwegian has put into his WorldRX programme.

Sweden is a sociable society that has a nicely measured pace to life. When RallycrossWorld visited PSRX it was quite early in the winter build/rebuild period, things were relaxed. For sure there will be times, especially now as the start of the new season draws ever closer, when the demands of motorsport make life a just little more frantic as the teams prepare for the start of the new FIA World Rallycross Championship.




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