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Red Bull GRC: Cabot Bigham set with DRR GRC Lites

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There haven’t been a ton of Red Bull Global Rallycross announcements thus far in 2016 but Dreyer & Reinbold Racing put one out this morning. Cabot Bigham is set for one of the team’s GRC Lites entries.

The team release is below:

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that young motorsports star Cabot Bigham has joined the team to compete in the 12-event 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites Series beginning at the season opener scheduled for May 21-22nd at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz.

Cabot-Bigham-Head-shot-1Bigham, 20, has been a successful karting star and open-wheel racing champion including capturing the 2015 West Coast Pro Formula Mazda Championship with seven wins in 12 races. The Mill Valley, Calif., driver also competed in Formula 3 in his climb through the open-wheel ladder trail. He began racing at age 13 in indoor karting and won numerous titles and races before moving up in the open-wheel ranks. Cabot was a teammate of two-time Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon in the Manufacturers Cup in Indianapolis in 2011.

“I am very excited to be joining Dreyer and Reinbold Racing for the Red Bull Global Rally Cross Lites season,” said Bigham, also known as The Big Ham. “Having a proven racing group behind you is extremely pertinent to success, so I am quite optimistic about what 2016 has to bring. I look forward to developing my skill set as a driver, team member, and building friendships along the way.”

Bigham will campaign the No. 2 Paratek Pharmaceutical Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites race car for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the highly-competitive Lites division which saw the Carmel, Ind.-based squad win four of 12 events in its initial Red Bull Global Rallycross season. In 2015, DRR collected Lites main event victories at New River, Detroit, Washington D.C. and Las Vegas. In addition to their wins, DRR captured five podium finishes.

“We are very excited to have Cabot Bigham join our 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross team,” said Dennis Reinbold, DRR team owner. “Despite his age, Cabot has produced an outstanding resume already in motorsports including winning last year’s West Coast Pro Formula Mazda Championship. Our DRR squad produced four wins and numerous podium finishes in the team’s first season in the Series and, with young, talented drivers like Cabot, we expect to battle for the Series championship this year.”

The future plans of the second Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Lites entry, the no. 24 Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites race car, will be announced in the near future, as well as upcoming team sponsor announcements.

The Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites division will be televised nationally with each event being produced and aired by NBCSN.

F1 tests: Mercedes innovates with wheel adjustment system

Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images
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MONTMELÓ, Spain — Veteran Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time on the second day of Formula One preseason testing on Thursday, but Mercedes still garnered more attention by introducing an innovative wheel adjustment system.

On-board footage showed defending champion Lewis Hamilton pulling the steering wheel back and forth on the front straight to apparently change the angle of the front wheels on his Mercedes car.

The team stayed tight-lipped about the car’s new feature but guaranteed it was “safe” and “legal.”

“I probably won’t shed a great deal more light than what you saw on the TV but yeah we have a system in the car, it’s a novel idea,” team technical director James Allison told F1 TV. ”We’ve got a name for it, it’s called DAS, if you’re interested, and it just introduces an extra dimension for the steering, for the driver, which we hope will be useful during the year. But precisely how we use it and why we use it, that’s something we will keep to ourselves.”

Allison said governing body FIA knew in advance that the team was introducing the new system.

“It’s something we’ve been talking to them (about) for some time,” he said. “The rules are pretty clear about what’s permitted on steering systems and we’re pretty confident that it matches those requirements. I’m pleased we got it on the car, it seems to be useful, and we’ll see over the coming days how it benefits us.”

Hamilton said he was still trying to get used to the system, but praised the team for coming up with the innovation.

“I’ve only had one morning on (it, so) I don’t really have a lot to talk about with it. We’re trying to get on top of it, understand it, but safety-wise no problem today and the FIA are OK with the project.

“For me it’s really encouraging to see that my team is continuing to innovate and stay ahead of the game, and I think that’s down to the great minds in the team and so hopefully that’ll work to our benefit.”

Hamilton led the time charts on Wednesday but was only ninth-fastest on Thursday.

MORE: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas fastest in Day 1 of F1 practice
MORE: Sergio Perez fastest early on Day 2 of F1 Practice

The 40-year-old Raikkonen, who has a chance this season to break the record for most race starts in F1, was fastest with a time of 1 minute, 17.091 seconds in his Alfa Romea. He was 0.2 seconds quicker than Sergio Pérez with Racing Point. Daniel Ricciardo of Renault was third.

Raikkonen caused a red flag near the end of the afternoon session when his car stopped on the track with an apparent mechanical issue. The Finnish driver had spun earlier in the session, as did Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes, Romain Grosjean of Haas and Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri, formerly known as Toro Rosso.

Grosjean had the most laps among the 13 drivers who went to the track on Thursday, with 158.

Bottas was the slowest driver of the day, while Sebastian Vettel was sixth-fastest with Ferrari.

Pérez had set the quickest time in the morning session. The Mexican driver had been third fastest on Wednesday, behind Hamilton and Bottas.

Drivers will be back on the track on Friday to close out the first week of testing. Teams will have another three days to test next week.

Preseason testing has been reduced from eight to six days to help compensate for the record 22 races on the calendar, including a new Vietnam Grand Prix and the return of the Dutch GP. Midseason testing also has been eliminated.

The season opens on March 15 at the Australian GP.

The Barcelona-Catalunya track will host the Spanish GP on May 10.