Nitro Rallycross world series hopes to rival F1 as it begins at a new look Lydden Hill

  • Watch full video report by ITV News Meridian's Joe Coshan

A racetrack in Kent has been transformed to host a unique new motorsport event.

Known as the 'spiritual home of rallycross', Lydden Hill has installed a 20ft table-top jump and a NASCAR-style high banked turn to welcome the Nitro RX series.

The American-backed Nitro Rallycross has drifted into the South East to start its World Championship tour.

Its founders hope it'll be a new force in motorsport that can rival F1 in popularity in years to come. It combines the intensity of rallycross, with big air thrills adopted from Nitro Circus - a stunt show that travelled the globe with its creator Travis Pastrana.

  • Travis Pastrana, stuntman and co-founder of Nitro RX speaks to ITV Meridian about his vision

"We figured out with Nitro Circus how to entertain the crowd," said Travis, 38, the co-founder of Nitro RX.

"I figured if we could entertain them and have fun racing we'd have the best of both worlds. I always thought racing was a lot of fun but we have to make it something that the crowd want to come and watch, so we added some jumps, some NASCAR-style turns and the racing's just been awesome."

The new look Lydden Hill. Credit: Nitro RX

Lydden Hill is considered legendary in the motorsport world. It hosted the very first rallycross race in 1967.

The iconic track is still recognisable for the most part, but Chessons has been replaced by a sweeping banked turn called 'Talladega', and the straight that immediately followed, the Dover Slope, now has a large dirt jump.

This weekend will be the first international rallycross event hosted at the venue since 2017.

  • Lydden Hill's chief executive Pat Doran tells ITV Meridian about how much work went into adapting the iconic circuit

Pat Doran, Chief Executive at Lydden Hill, said: "After all of the work we've put in, and to see it all happening now with these fabulous cars going round is just fantastic.

"The way we looked at it was that the track needed balance. We're keeping the good parts, what we believe are the good parts and we're adding bits to give it the 'Wow' factor.

"People locally don't realise how iconic this track is around the world. This is a US based business coming back to where it all started, bringing their new world championship with their electric cars to mix here and we've embraced that here by developing the track to make it more exciting to watch for the public."

"Cars that fly, tracks that thrill" is Nitro RX's mission.

Electric is a word that doesn't always sit well with motorsport fans, but Nitro RX hopes its new Group E class will change that.

The all-new FC1-X is the most powerful rallycross car ever built, producing the electric equivalent of 1,070 peak horsepower. It can do 0-60 in 1.4 seconds and is faster off the line than an F1 car.

Brett Clarke, co-founder of Nitro RX, said: "It's the first race of our international expansion and we wanted it to be at the birthplace of rallycross - Lydden Hill because in 2022, the next evolution of rallycross is going to kick off.

"When we look at electric we look at the sustainability message and that's what we need to do going forward. But we also don't want to lose any performance and that's important. Electric rallycross needs to be cool, we need to showcase electric cars as cool to manufacturers and the fans."

  • Nitro RX driver Fraser McConnell took ITV News Meridian's Joe Coshan for a spin in the new electric car making its debut at Lydden Hill

The series has attracted ten of the world's best drivers to take part, including former NASCAR and World Rallycross drivers and former F1 champion Jenson Button.

  • Nitro RX drivers speak to ITV News Meridian

Nitro RX kicks off its opening round on the 18-19 June at Lydden Hill, before travelling to Sweden, Finland, Saudi Arabia and Canada as well five events in the US.