Liam Doran is the newest face of the Monster Army on U.S. soil. The up-and-coming British Rallycross driver has made a name for himself overseas, showcasing an aggressive approach to competition, in addition to a brash, confident personality that’s a perfect fit for the Monster Energy brand.
Doran has helped make the Monster claw a more prominent symbol throughout Europe, and now, he’s bringing his talents stateside for X Games 17 this weekend. With his Rallycross experience, Doran is arguably the most versatile driver in the field, and he’ll be looking to win gold inside his Citroen named “Black Mamba.”
What are your thoughts on competing at X Games for the first time?
I’m really excited about it. I’ve watched them for a long time and as a kid, I was always involved in extreme sports, so I know what they’re all about. I’m really happy to finally be competing and I hope to win as well.
How does it feel to be a part of the Monster Army? It seems like you are a perfect fit for what the brand represents.
Being a part of Monster is amazing for me. It gives me the opportunity to do what I want to do. It’s opened up a lot of windows. It’s improved my image and it’s definitely going to improve my career, so I’m really happy to be working with them and representing them. Along with the other drivers – Ken Block and Dave Mirra – everything that (Monster) does is spectacular and I’m excited to show them off (this weekend).
Where did the name of your car – “Black Mamba” – come from?
Monster! (Laughs) The guys over at Monster called it that the first time they saw it. We wanted to keep it really hardcore. Keep it black. Keep it hard, and just put the stickers on. Keep that strong affiliation. It looks really cool. But yeah, the name came from the Monster guys.
Rallycross is pretty new to the American audience. Break down the sport a little bit.
Rallycross is different than any other motorsport, because it’s short sprint races. And, it’s really fast and aggressive. It’s sort of like supercross on four wheels. The start is really important and there’s gravel and tarmac, so you have to make sure your car is set up for both. You only have four laps of racing. When you only have that short amount of time to win, there isn’t any sort of relaxing and there’s not really a lot of strategy. But, it’s really exciting and I think it fits the criteria (to interest) the U.S. public.
How long are you going to be in the U.S. for? Do you have any plans while you’re here?
You know, I’m competing in the European (Rallycross) Championship and the car literally flew out (to the U.S.) this week, and is going straight back out on Monday. So, we have to get the car back to the airport on Sunday right after the (X Games) so it can be ready for the next round of the championship in Belgium next weekend. Straight out to the U.S., straight back to Europe, and try to get that championship after this.
You and Tanner Foust, the defending champion at X Games, have competed against one another quite a bit in Europe. Thanks to that familiarity, what do you think of your chances against him at X Games?
I’ve been racing with Tanner for the last year – this season and last season. We’re evenly matched, but we both have our good days and our bad days. This year, I’ve had more bad days than him. He’s had a really good year so far. And last year, I had a much better year than him. It’s tit-for-tat and I’m not worried. I’m not nervous at all. I know I’ve got the speed, with a brilliant team and a brilliant car. Now we have the sponsor support from Monster. He’s definitely going to set a level and set the pace. So we’ll see how it goes. I can’t wait.
Do you have anything special in store for the U.S. fans or drivers?
Not really. (Laughs) There’s no other driver in the field quite like me, I don’t think, so that will be a surprise in itself. I’m really interested to see how I can do. You’ve got guys like Pastrana, Deegan, Block, and Foust – all big names. But, they don’t have me and what I’m bringing.