Alex Mercier: Racing


Alex Mercier, a CHS senior, has recently been hitting the track. The race track. Specifically the Crystal Motor Speedway in Crystal, Michigan where she has been participating in rallycross races with her dad coaching her from the passenger seat. 

 “I have fun doing it,” Mercier said. “I’m an adrenaline junkie. I literally live for adrenaline. I’m a diver. I do flips off of extremely high highs and I race cars.”

Rallycross is a type of sports car racing that is different from the popularized race car driving. The drivers aren’t racing side by side. Rallycross is done with one car at a time on a course outlined with cones, in this case on an open field and in a dirt bowl. Mercier races in her dad’s 1970’s Volkswagen Rabbit GTI. 

“I do what’s called rallycross racing, which means that I race in dirt and at the moment the dirt is covered in snow and ice.” Mercier said. “It’s not asphalt racing and it’s for time, which means that I’m not running side by side like Formula One.”

For as long as she can remember, Mercier has been in the garage helping her dad out with whatever he needs. Before she was even born, her dad bought the 1970’s Volkswagen Rabbit GTI with his sights set on racing it in Rallycross. About three years ago, Mercier’s dad finally finished a rallycross cross through the Detroit Sports Car Club of America.

In July of 2021, Mercier expressed her interest in racing to her dad and he put her in an Autocross race. Similar to Rallycross, it is timed runs and drivers go one at a time. The only difference is it’s on asphalt, so it’s more controlled and less dangerous in that sense.

“I ran my car, my little Mazda three, in that race, and I really liked it.” Mercier said. “My dad decided that I could learn more how to do Rallycross in his Rabbit GTI and it was really stressful the first time”

Due to the race being won by the fastest time, the car being driven has to be the most lightweight and the fastest possible vehicle. For this reason, the driver is basically driving in a metal box. 

“It’s a bit stressful sitting in there your first time because it’s like looking at a lab rat.” Mercier said. “And oh my God, it’s scary.”