Sebastian Eriksson – The sky’s the limit

by Hal Ridge |

Sebastian Eriksson wins at Red Bull Global Rallycross, in Daytona Beach, FL, USA on 21 June, 2015 // Larry Chen / Red Bull Content Pool // P-20150622-00026 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to for further information. //

Cars are lining up in the pre-grid at an FIA World Rallycross Championship event, but it has just started to rain. Not enough rain for race control to order the wet race board to be displayed, but teams need to be ready in case a few drops turn into a downpour. Mechanics rush from all corners of the paddock with jacks, tyre trollies and nut guns, heading for their respective cars. From the OlsbergsMSE RX Lites awning, a tall yet slightly-built young man, much like many of the others in the Swedish squad, runs to the car he is looking after for the weekend with a sense of urgency, dragging a trolley full of tyres behind him.

It would be unfair to suggest that other mechanics are not in such a rush, but this lad knows only too well the implications of his driver of being on the wrong rubber if the skies open in the coming minutes. He has, after all, led and almost beaten the best of them at the top of this game.
Sebastian Eriksson is among the busiest members of any rallycross paddock around the world; few visit as many events, or excel as both driver and mechanic.

The youngster is key to the OMSE Lites programme. © Ridge
This year, when Eriksson isn’t working for Andreas Eriksson’s OMSE squad as a mechanic, he’s racing a Ford Fiesta Supercar in full campaigns in Sweden and America. 2013 was Eriksson’s debut season in rallycross; he won events in Europe and America in the Lites category, before graduating to Supercar for 2014, winning the Sweden-based RallyX Scandinavia Championship and, more impressively, led the final at his home round of World RX.

Despite his relative inexperience, Eriksson was immediately on the pace of the world's best. © Banks

“I’m at a race almost every weekend, wherever we race as a team. I got the chance to drive in GRC Lites in 2013 from Andreas [Eriksson], so started to work for the team that summer and it’s kind of built from that. Now I work full time as a driver and mechanic,” explains the unassuming Swede.
While the general perception is that drivers need significant funding behind them to reach the upper echelons of motor racing, Eriksson is proving that this is not always the case. His career began in Sweden, in folkracing; an entry level form of motor sport using relatively unmodified cars on rallycross-type circuits. As an added twist aimed at keeping costs under control, any car must be sold at the end of an event if a buyer is willing to pay the set fee (around 700 Euro).

“I was 15 when started with folkrace. I wanted to become a world champion one day and I read that PG Andersson started with folkrace himself. He was a big star in rally back then. I won a lot of races. One year I won 35; I raced every weekend possible. It was crazy. Building a new car over the week and going racing on the weekend. It was a lot of work. If you win, you usually need to sell the car, so I think I used 15 or 16 cars that year. At that time, Andreas contacted me and was interested. We had a little bit of contact for a few years then the chance to do the GRC Lites came up and I jumped at it.”

Eriksson leads a double life as driver and mechanic. © Bull

Bearing the same surname as his team principle, Eriksson is often assumed to be Andreas’ son, but they are of no relation. The OMSE Erikssons come from Nynashamn, south of Stockholm, Sebastian was brought up near Hagfors, only a few Swedish miles from Holjes. It was there last season that Eriksson truly announced himself to the rallycross world with a stunning performance; he led the final until his Fiesta’s suspension broke.

“Holjes was big. It was something unique for me to be there for the first time in a Supercar and against Petter [Solberg] and all the big stars. I had the chance to win, until I broke the car. I had lots of tests together with [Reinis] Nitiss and [Andreas] Bakkerud before it, so I knew I had the speed to do it. Nobody expected for me to be that fast, so I didn’t feel that I had the pressure on me. I was just for there for fun and to try and do my best. I was really disappointed afterwards, but if I look back now, I proved that I am fast enough and everybody that was there knows I should have won. I hope I get a new chance to do it better.”


Eriksson had planned selected World RX outings this season, but was instead offered a full-season drive in the GRC. He took it, and was immediately on the pace of the American regulars. The young Swede says he doesn’t struggle to focus on one role or the other on race weekends. “When I’m a driver, I’m a driver and I just focus on that. I don’t care about the others then. But when I’m a mechanic I try to keep everything organised and make everything work. If I see something the drivers can do better I try to help them, to make them faster. But I can also learn from them as well. They’re good in some areas that I’m bad, I can watch them and try to learn. You learn a lot by just being in the paddock.”

Eriksson has been a GRC front runner in 2015. © Bull

Aware that he is a fortunate position, Eriksson plans to make the most of his time as mechanic and driver, but also wants his career path to show that it is possible to get to the top from humble beginnings. “I hope people can see that it’s possible to come from a cheap background, start in a low class and build their way up. You don’t need to be the son of Kenneth Hansen or Andreas Eriksson to get to the top, it is possible climb from the bottom and get all the way.”





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