Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

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by Ryan Stringfield
Posted June 29, 2010 at 7:09 pm F2000 Championship, GP3, Star Mazda

Up-and-Coming Drivers

Bill Zahren (aka Pressdog) put together an excellent two-part piece on Indy Lights’ drivers Martin Plowman, Pippa Mann and Gustavo Yacaman.  The article looks at the various challenges facing today’s up-and-coming drivers.  If you haven’t already read it, I strongly recommend you do.  Part 1Part 2.

Karting standout and 2010 Bondurant Champion Neil Alberico had the chance to sample a Formula Mazda race car last weekend with World Speed Motorsports in the West Coast Formula Car Challenge series.  The opportunity came as part of the prize for winning the inaugural Bondurant Championship Series.

Speaking of the Formula Car Challenge series, rumor has it that 30+ drivers will be entered for the Infineon Round with the IRL.  A few notable names on the current entry list are Cole Morgan, Case Montgomery and Dane Cameron … just to name a few.  In addition to the racing action at Infineon, attendees will also get a chance to see the new FormulaSPEED 2.0. Here’s a sneak preview.

F2000 Championship – New Additions Inked for ‘The Glen’

Australian standout Daniel Erickson will return to F2000 Championship competition over the Fourth of July at Watkins Glen.  The 22-year-old ran out of funds after a stellar weekend in Virginia (earlier this year).  He plans to get back behind-the-wheel next weekend with Quantum Mechanics.

Scottish driver Steven McAleer was originally hired by SMR to work with rookie F2000 driver Tim Paul.  McAleer has done a nice job working with Paul (who has a sprint car background) – but the team has decided to actually put him in a race car alongside Paul.  He will be driving the #14 car at both Watkins Glen and Lime Rock Park.

Both drivers will make a nice addition to the F2000 Championship field.

USF2000 and Star Mazda – New Jersey Motorsports Park

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up last weekend’s USF2000 and Star Mazda races from New Jersey Motorsports Park.  Both races were broadcast on HDNet courtesy of VisitFlorida.com which was great to see.  A few of the camera men at NJMP could have used a little additional training (ie. don’t take the camera off of the action) but overall the production was outstanding and I certainly don’t want to sound like I’m complaining.

The talk of Saturday’s race was the bewildering penalty given to Conor Daly for jumping  the start of the Star Mazda race but the real story (aside from Conor’s comeback) was Brazilian Caio Lara.  Lara, who in his third year of Star Mazda competition, found his first Star Mazda podium early this season at St. Pete and then drove to a 2.650-second victory this past weekend in New Jersey.  Race 1 Results.

It was Lara’s first win in Star Mazda competition.  He’s flown under the radar for the past few seasons but he’s beginning to standout on a more frequent basis.  I’m not sure what his future holds but he’s certainly made some great strides over the past three seasons.

In the second Star Mazda race of the weekend Dom Bastien forgot he was a back marker (ed. note: while being lapped) and made the race incredibly exciting for the spectators.  I’m guessing there are a few Star Mazda front runners who didn’t find the race craft quite as entertaining as the rest of us.  As it turned out, the results weren’t affected – not much at least.

Tristan Vautier drove a phenomenal race after grabbing the holeshot from Conor Daly.  Sunday’s win was Vautier’s second of the season.  Joao Horto ran an impressive race driving from 8th to 2nd in 35-laps.  Krohn, who ultimately finished third, was running second until his gearbox got stuck in sixth-gear on the final lap.  Race 2 Results.

In USF2000 competition Sage Karam proved he’s human.  After qualifying on pole and driving to a 10.936-second win in Race 1, the 15-year-old American made a rare mistake while battling a loose car in Race 2.  He put all four wheels off track at corner exit and punctured the radiator in the process.  Patrick McKenna, who won at O’Reilly Raceway Park earlier this year, took the win from a hard charging Mikhail Goikhberg. Raphael Abbate, who finished third, is continuing to make a name for himself in the Series.  I admit I wasn’t real familiar with him when he first signed with JDC MotorSports, but I’ve been very impressed with him this season.

GP3- Hard Chargers, Race Winners and Interviewees

This is starting to get pretty long.  If you’re still reading … thank you.  The GP3 drivers spent the weekend in Valencia, Spain with Formula One.  Honorable mention needs to go to James Jakes for driving from 27th to 8th in Round 5.  Nico Muller, 18,  also had a strong weekend in GP3 – driving from 17th to 7th in Round 5 before winning Round 6.  It was his first GP3 victory.  Full GP3 Results from Valencia.

Mark at F1Prospects.com recently interviewed GP3 standout Alexander Rossi.  You can read the full interview here.

Formula BMW-Europe – Podcast

FeederSeries.net recently sat down with American Michael Lewis of Formula BMW fame for an interview.  Listen here.

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