Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Early Predictions: 2009 Junior Formula Championships

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted June 18, 2009 at 2:07 pm open wheel racing news


A few readers have requested an “early predictions” write-up, similar to the one I did last year. I had originally decided not to do a post on this ….for a couple different reasons.

  1. Nobody likes to be left out.
  2. This early in the year, predictions are generally worthless—especially this season with several drivers on shoe-string budgets.

After receiving a few requests for a post on this, and with the #2 reason noted above, I decided I might as well have some fun and post a few picks for the end of the season junior formula championships. Below, I’ve posted my top-three picks for the season ending points tally in the North American junior formula ranks. My picks are just a stab in the dark as it’s a long season and all of the junior formula championships have several very capable drivers. It’s up to you how seriously you want to take them.

I’d appreciate some reader input in the comments section below, so feel free to chime in and post your own picks or thoughts on why you agree/disagree with my picks.

Skip Barber National
1. Connor De Phillippi
2. Felipe Polehtto
3. Brett Smrz

Formula BMW- Americas
1. Giancarlo Vilarinho
2. Gabby Chaves
3. Michael Lewis

F2000 Championship

1. Chris Miller
2. Matthew Inge
3. Remy Audette

Star Mazda

1. Adam Christodoulou
2. Peter Dempsey
3. Joel Miller

Atlantic Championship
1. Simona De Silvestro
2. Jonathan Summerton
3. Frederic Vervisch

Indy Lights
1. Mario Romancini
2. J.R. Hildebrand
3. Sebastian Saavedra

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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous on June 19, 2009 12:43 pm

    good pics i'd participate more but its hard to argue this early in the year. Not sure if Dempsey will be able to continue in starmazda. i guess i'd pic summerton in atlantic over simona…..

  2. Iannucci on June 19, 2009 8:54 pm

    Romancini looks like he's getting stronger as the season goes, but I'd go with Hildebrand in the Light series simply based on his consistency. I'm just amazed there isn't a Sam Schmidt driver in that Top 3 – oh, how the mighty have fallen.

  3. Anonymous on June 24, 2009 4:29 pm

    One of my favorite pieces you did, it gave me a few guys to follow, many of which have had really interesting careers. Unfortunately a lot of these guys are not racing anymore and there is a new crop of young talent! Wondered if you'd give us some more guys to follow on their progression to the top.

    Thursday, April 24, 2008
    JOWT's Top Ten Prospects

    1. Alexander Rossi
    One of today's brightest young stars with a hunger to succeed. Very calm, collected and well spoken off the track. He's a driven young man with a ton of experience for his age.

    2. David Jurca
    One of the nicest pilots I have met. Jurca has what it takes to succeed. At this point his biggest hindrance is funding. Look for him to be running the Jetta TDI Cup this season. He will also continue his karting efforts with powerhouse Italian Motors based out of Vancouver, BC.

    3. Alan Rudolph
    Forget his age. This guy has more experience than just about anyone out there vying for a seat at the professional level. Take one look at his resume …enough said.

    4. Dane Cameron
    Dane did very well in karting, but has really excelled in his formula car efforts. He came into the Star Mazda Championship last year as a rookie without a ton of experience and graduated as the series Champion. He finished just outside the Top Ten in his Atlantic Debut, but look for him to be battling for another championship in the near future.

    5. Jordon Musser
    Another aging prospect, but Musser is incredibly intelligent and has arguably the most natural talent of any driver on this list. He is currently working as a defense engineer after recently graduating from Texas A&M. Musser may have been spotted recently by a few with his appearance on SPEED TV's SET-UP.

    6. Seth Ingham
    Seth has been flying under the radar of many by racing in the Formula V6 Asia series by Renault. He was incredibly fast in the 2005 Skip Barber Karting Shoot-Out. Unfortunately, he left without a scholarship and has used that as fire to succeed in Asia. Racing with CT Motorsports, Seth won a race in the FV6A series last year. If he is able to come up with the necessary funding expect to see much more of him.

    7. Alan Sciuto
    Without a doubt, Alan is a top prospect in the open wheel racing world. He has the experience and is a very quick learner. Winning his first US Formula Ford 2000 race and qualifying on pole in only his second Atlantic start. The future is bright.

    8. Jonathon Summerton
    Summerton has been a contender since winning the Formula BMW Scholarship Shoot-Out in Valencia, Spain. Since that time, he has raced in Europe and most recently become the first American driver to win an A1GP race.

    9. Bobby Wilson
    Bobby Wilson is a very talented driver hailing from Oconomowoc, WI. Wilson has been a contender in every series he has ever run. A fierce competitor in the karting ranks who has carried that over into FF2000 and the IPS. Wilson is currently struggling to find the funding to continue his efforts and is also with a new team this year. Should he put everything together for one more run…expect to see him at the top level of open wheel racing.

    10. Ron White
    Possibly the most aggressive competitor out there…. White has the fire and refuses to let it dim. Ron will be the lead driver for the KLS karting team in 2008 and will also focus on chassis development for the team. White has done a terrific job of finding the limit between aggression and discretion over the last few seasons. Should he find the funding to continue his efforts….watch out.

    **Driver to watch: Chris Miller – JDC Motorsports**

    Chris finished third in his first National FF2000 series race and has a ton of karting experience.

  4. Ryan on June 24, 2009 8:18 pm

    Anon @ 3:29 PM,

    I've posted an updated top prospects piece as you requested… you can view it here: JOWT Top Prospects

    Thanks for reading.

    -JOWT

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