Red Bull GRC: SH Rallycross adds The Vitamin Shoppe as co-primary sponsor for D.C.

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Nelson Piquet Jr. returns to the U.S. this week after the first FIA Formula E Championship test of its new season in Donington Park, with a test of a Team Penske IndyCar in Sonoma on Thursday and then a quick turnaround to the East coast with SH Rallycross in the next round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross at Washington, D.C.

Piquet will have another co-primary sponsor on his No. 07 SH Rallycross Ford Fiesta, with The Vitamin Shoppe joining Hydroxycut.

Here’s the full team release:

SH Rallycross announced today that the Vitamin Shoppe® will serve as co-primary sponsor of the No. 07 HYDROXYCUT/VITAMIN SHOPPE machine, piloted by Nelson Piquet Jr. in the upcoming Washington, D. C. round of the 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross series on August 14-15 at RFK Stadium.

“So pumped to be connecting The Vitamin Shoppe brand with RedBull GRC fans both at the event and on Global T.V,” said James “Sulli” Sullivan, principal, SH Rallycross. “This race is in our nation’s capital and will be broadcast live on NBC so the timing is ideal for The Vitamin Shoppe to jump on board,” added Sulli.

The Vitamin Shoppe is a leading specialty retailer and contract manufacturer of nutritional products. In its stores and on its websites, the Vitamin Shoppe carries one of the most comprehensive assortments in the industry, including vitamins, minerals, specialty supplements, herbs, sports nutrition, homeopathic remedies, green living products and beauty aids.

Piquet Jr., who recently became the historic first Formula E champion, is just 17 points out of third place in the Red Bull GRC championship standings. The former Formula One and NASCAR driver, who just turned 30 years-old, has finished on the podium twice this season placing third at the season opener in Ft. Lauderdale and again at the MCAS New River.

“Really looking forward to running The Vitamin Shoppe brand on our car in D.C.,” said Piquet Jr. “The Vitamin Shoppe is a natural partner for me and the team as health and fitness are the most important part of my every day life and training. We had a frustrating weekend in Detroit with a mechanical issue, so I think this weekend is an opportunity to for us to show once again how fast we are and to give our partners Vitamin Shoppe and Hydroxycut a top result.”

Round 7 of the 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross Series will be held at RFK Stadium on August 14 and 15. The race will be broadcast nationally on NBC on Saturday, August 15 starting at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Hamilton, Bottas clock fastest times as F1 testing starts

Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty IPhoto by Mark Thompson/Getty Imagesmages
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MONTMELO, Spain — Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas sent an ominous signal to their challengers after clocking the two fastest lap times on the first day of Formula One’s preseason testing.

Hamilton set the top time of Wednesday’s opening session’s of 1 minute, 16.976 seconds, after he took over from Bottas behind the wheel of the new Silver Arrow for the 2020 season. Bottas’ best effort was 0.337 seconds slower.

The Mercedes duo also completed the most laps of any team with 173.

Sergio Perez of Racing Point was the third fastest, followed by Max Verstappen in his Red Bull.

Hamilton enters the season as the clear favorite as he seeks to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles and surpass the German’s mark of 91 career wins. Hamilton has six titles and 84 wins.

“It’s been a good day and a really good start for all of us, considering we had a long break,” Hamilton said. “So to come back and clock in over 170 laps just shows how hard everyone has been working over the winter.”

In last year’s preseason testing, the Mercedes cars were slower than the rival Ferraris. But they beat them come the first race of the year and never lost their advantage.

Hamilton and Bottas had nine one-two race finishes last season as they dominated the field to finish first and second in the overall points standings.

Wednesday’s eight hours of running went smoothly for all teams, with no accidents or breakdowns and good weather ideal for high speeds.

The only setback was for Sebatian Vettel, who couldn’t run as scheduled because of an illness.

Charles Leclerc took Vettel’s place and settled for the 11th best time of the 15 drivers who drove.

Leclerc, who finished fourth ahead of Vettel last season, said that his team had changed strategy.

“Last year in testing we were great but the first race was a little less great, and I think we have learned a few things on this,” he said. “This year we have started trying to focus more on ourselves and on trying to learn the car as much as possible during these first few days and then focus on performance later on.”

Verstappen finished third last season and is expected to again be biggest challenger to Mercedes’ dominance along with the two Ferraris.

Verstappen focused on accumulating 168 laps as Red Bull’s sole driver on the track. Alexander Albon will get his turn with the Red Bull on Thursday.

Williams’ George Russell was the first car to take the track, ensuring his team got off to a better start than during last year’s preseason when its car wasn’t ready to run until the third day of testing.

This year’s rules have not varied much ahead of the massive overhaul of regulations set to take effect in 2021 with the goal of shaking up the pecking order and closing the gap between the three traditional title challengers – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – and all the rest.

This season’s tweaks feature fewer tests days to compensate for the record-breaking 22 races on the calendar, including a new Vietnam GP and the return of the Dutch GP. Preseason testing has been reduced from a total of eight days to six, and the mid-season test has been eliminated.

Cars will now sport shark fins on the engine cover with the number of the driver to help fans identify them better. Drivers have been given more control of the go sequence at the starting line, and those large screens that crews would wheel out to shield cars from the view of snoopy rivals during tests have been banned.

Alfa Romeo and Haas unveiled their cars early on Wednesday in the pitlane to complete the presentation of the new vehicles for this season.

Testing continues on Thursday and Friday at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, home to the Spanish GP, and again from Feb. 26-28.

The season-opening Australian GP is on March 15.