07 May 2019
New Andretti Autosport signing Cabot Bigham feels that the influx of new tracks in Americas Rallycross will benefit the discipline at grassroots level in the United States.
The first modern international rallycross competition began in the US in 2011, with Global Rallycross which began as a domestic competition, but quickly expanded to new markets. A key characteristic of the now-defunct series was its reliance on temporary city-based tracks, which were changed on a year-by-year basis.
Since IMG launched Americas Rallycross to effectively replace GRC last year, the promoter – which also handles the World and European Rallycross championships – has set to work installing a number of rallycross tracks at permanent facilities across America.
“It’s really fantastic and it shows just how hard IMG’s been working to get ARX to be the most professional rallycross series in the United States,” Bigham said of the new tracks. “They’ve been really working hard to release schedules earlier, to lock down those permanent locations.”
Mid-Ohio and Gateway Motorsports Park have been added to the ARX schedule this year, joining Circuit of the Americas and World RX venue Circuit Trois-Rivieres in Canada, and Bigham feels that having established, permanent venues will offer benefits previously not enjoyed by the US’ top rallycross drivers.
“For me as a driver, I can actually study the track and see it in my head, and I know when I show up it’s not going to be halfway built,” he said. “We’ll have a track walk and it will be a certain time and we’ll be there on that time. There won’t be a late or a tardy setup, so I’m very excited for that.”
Despite professional rallycross being around in the US for the best part of a decade now, it’s advancement at lower levels has been lacking compared to the likes of Europe – particularly France and Scandinavia where rallycross is big on multiple levels. Bigham feels that the new tracks being built for ARX will eventually benefit rallycross at lower levels in North America.
“I think it’s going to do a lot of great things for making rallycross a pyramid,” he said. “You’re going to have a lot of smaller series that are going to be able to form and we’re going to start seeing more people getting involved in rallycross which will just make the sport that much better.”