Although many had already labeled the signing “confirmed” for the past several months, it was officially announced yesterday that Michael Johnson will indeed join JDC MotorSports for the 2012 USF2000 National Championship.
What makes this signing special?
Well, it’s special for a number of reasons but mainly because Johnson — who was paralyzed in a motorcycle racing incident in 2005 — will become the first driver to pilot a specially equipped hand-controlled race car in the Mazda Road to Indy. His journey will begin next week, Feb. 6-7, when JDC opens competition at the USF2000 Winterfest at Sebring International Raceway.
The 19-year-old Michigan native has embarked on an incredible journey since that ill-fated day on August 13, 2005 — the day of the accident that left him paralyzed from the mid-chest down. Two years later he was back racing. First in karts and later in the Skip Barber Racing Series formula car.
Last season, Johnson ran the full Skip Barber Summer Series and showed everyone how much natural ability he has. Not to mention work ethic. He scored three wins and seven podium finishes en route to third-place in the final standings.
“I’m so psyched to be competing in the USF2000 Championship with [team principal] John Church and JDC MotorSports!” Johnson said in a team release. “My journey to compete in open-wheel racing has required unique attention, and I want to thank all the people who supported the efforts to get us on the Mazda Road to Indy. INDYCAR and the USF2000 series have been supportive in working with us to make this happen. Many thanks to John and the entire JDC Motorsports team who made a miracle happen with the preparation of the car, and when we go racing next week in the Winterfest it will be a dream come true.”
Johnson has already completed nine full-day tests with the Minnesota-based squad in preparation for the upcoming Winterfest and National Championship.
Team owner John Church is equally excited to have Johnson joining an already-impressive lineup which includes teammates Scott Hargrove, Neil Alberico, and Zac Silver.
“I cannot even tell you how excited the entire team is to add Michael to our 2012 roster,” Church said. “Obviously this is a unique program, and during testing Michael has shown us that he will be up to the task and be competitive in our run for the championship in 2012.”