Junior Open Wheel Talent

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Archive for the ‘ F1600 Series ’ Category

Jack Mitchell Jr.

Jack Mitchell Jr. pilots the No. 93 Exclusive Autosport Spectrum at Road Atlanta in the F1600 Formula F Championship Series. (photo: F1600Series.com)

Editor’s Note: I’m pleased to welcome back junior formula racer Jack Mitchell Jr. to  Junior Open-Wheel Talent. Mitchell last wrote for JOWT following the Canadian Grand Prix in June, 2013. This season, he is racing in the F1600 Formula F Championship Series and recently charged from 17th on the grid to finish 2nd at Road Atlanta (see video below). But before you watch the highlight video, make sure to read Jack’s recap of his weekend in Georgia. Enjoy.  -Ed

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Thank you so much for having me back!

The offseason was a pretty long one for me. I had not been in a car for over six months, which is rough for any driver. I used my time during the off season to focus on developing myself as an athlete, applying to college, and finishing off high school strong. Fortunately my hard work paid off, and I am attending Marquette University in the fall and I will continue racing while there. In Chicago there was snow on the ground for a majority of those six months and it was freezing cold. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to hop on a plane and get down to the warm south and one of my favorite tracks, Road Atlanta.

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Jack Mitchell Jr. pilots the No. 90 Exclusive Autosport F1600 car during the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. (photo: FlagWorld.com)

Jack Mitchell Jr. pilots the No. 90 Exclusive Autosport F1600 car during the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. (photo: FlagWorld.com)

Ed. Note: This week we are fortunate to have up-and-coming junior formula driver Jack Mitchell Jr. blog about his experience during the Formula Tour F1600 races at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. Mitchell Jr. writes about his in-car and out-of-the-car experiences during Formula One’s prestigious stop at Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Enjoy.

Wow what a weekend!

First off, huge thanks to Junior Open Wheel Talent for giving me another blog opportunity. I love doing these and hopefully it will provide a nice perspective of what goes on at this action-packed event on and off the track.

I competed in the Montreal Grand Prix last year with mixed results and learned important lessons about low grip street circuits. Being that it was my second year, I knew that I would have a solid chance at competing for the win.

The Exclusive Autosport Spectrum cars have been extremely reliable and quick at every track we’ve gone to. That’s a massive comfort heading into a track such as Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve.

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Zacharie Robichon takes the checkered flag for his first-career win in an open-wheel car at Shannonville Motorsports Park. (photos by Michael Haley)

Zacharie Robichon takes the checkered flag for his first-career win in an open-wheel car at Shannonville Motorsports Park. (photos by Michael Haley)

Ed. note: Last weekend was an exciting one for up-and-coming junior formula driver and standout karter Zacharie Robichon of Ottawa. The BGR Team Grote driver earned his first career pole position and race win in cars (and then did it again) at Shannonville Motorsports Park. This week we’ve invited him to blog about his experience. Enjoy.           

Shannonville DAC trillium trophy races driver diary by Zacharie Robichon

Friday: Friday morning was incredibly cold and rainy. You sometimes wonder why you live in Canada when it is May 24th and it is -1 degrees Celsius with the wind chill. Needless to say, we had a little later start to the day than originally planned. Although I had tested at Shannonville during the Spring Fling in April, it was going to be the first time that I was able to race the full track (Spring Fling is run on a shortened version of the track). The setback caused by the weather meant that I was going to be missing some track time, but sometimes you don’t have much of a choice!

It was still damp during my first session on track, so I used the laps to learn where certain bumps were. After lunch we finally got to hit the track when it was dry. This really was an opportunity for me to test the grip levels on the track to see how the car would react. It was a good session because I was only about two-tenths off the pole time from last year. Following that session we made little changes to the gear ratios to maximize the Honda everywhere on track and then headed back out for another two sessions. One thing I noticed quickly about the track is no matter what session it was, a distinct characteristic of the track is that fast laps would always be put in at the beginning of a session. I took note of this because it would definitely be important during the qualifying sessions.

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Video of the Day

Posted May 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm F1600 Series, video Comments

If you haven’t already done so, make sure to check out Episode 1 of F1600 in Focus. The first episode captures some great onboard racing from the F1600 Formula F Championship Series (VIR), the Pacific Formula F1600 Championship (Thunderhill), and the SCCA Majors at Circuit of the Americas. Enjoy.

For up-to-date news and views on karting and junior formula racing follow @JOWT on Twitter or follow on Facebook.

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Aaron Telitz carefully navigates his F1600 race car to victory at Road Atlanta. (photo: Philip Kane / Apex Motorsports Photography)

Aaron Telitz carefully navigates his F1600 race car to victory at Road Atlanta.                   (photo: Phil Kane / Apex Motorsports Photography)

Ed. Note: As part of our ongoing pursuit to help support and promote today’s up-and-coming junior formula drivers we have offered F1600 Formula F Championship winner Aaron Telitz the opportunity to blog about his experience [including a pole position and race win] at Road Atlanta. Enjoy.

After struggling with the setup at the F1600 season opener at VIR I came into Road Atlanta much more prepared for the technical side of racing. I called my engineer before we even got to the track to go over the baseline setup. I wanted to make sure I understood where we were starting off and to go over easy changes to help the balance of the car one way or another.

The biggest learning curve for me in making the transition from Skip Barber cars to an F1600 car has been understanding the dynamics of the car. In Skip Barber I just got into the car and drove as hard as I could, not worrying about the setup. That is not the case in F1600 or in any other race car I will drive in my career. I always tell people, “As a race car driver the easiest part of my job is driving the car,” and the further along I get in my career the more truth there is in that statement.

When the first practice session came around we hit the ground running and ended up P3 in a short session due to red flags. After making a few changes we improved our lap time and position on the time charts in the second session. We didn’t have much time between sessions so it was very important to give good concise feedback so my engineer and mechanic could get going on changes right away. After another small change we improved our lap time again for session three but were still P2 on the chart. We made one final change to the car, put new sticker Hoosier Tires on and went out for qualifying.

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STAR PERFORMANCE: Adrian Starrantino cruised to victory in both F1600 Championship Series races this past weekend at Virginia International Raceway. (photo: F1600/Valet)

STAR PERFORMANCE: Adrian Starrantino drove to victory in both F1600 Championship Series races this past weekend at Virginia International Raceway. (photo: F1600/Valet)

Ed. Note: After wrapping up a highly successful season in the Skip Barber Racing Series, junior formula racer Adrian Starrantino decided to graduate to the F1600 Formula F Championship Series with Bryan Herta Autosport for 2013. In a post exclusive to Junior Open-Wheel Talent, the 18-year-old standout writes about his opening weekend in the F1600 car at Virginia International Raceway. Enjoy.

One word to describe the start of the season: “Awesome.”

In the off-season I made the decision to move to Indianapolis full-time to pin down my racing career. During this time I have been able to see how much work goes into the cars during the off-season.  I knew when signing with Bryan Herta Autosport for the 2013 Formula F1600 Championship there was going to be some big shoes to fill, and I was more than prepared to take on the challenge.

Knowing how the team had performed last year, I was feeling pretty confident rolling into VIR for the first round of the 2013 championship.  I was fortunate to develop a relationship with the crew during the off-season and we were already becoming a true team. The weekend started off with a test day on Thursday and the car was right on pace.

Finally Friday came along and it was time for the first official practice session of the season. Right off the bat we were running P1 and stayed there the entire day. After tediously debriefing with my engineer, Geoff, we had a plan of attack for the first day of racing.

Saturday came and the pressure suddenly became real. All of my preparation and training came down to this day.  I told myself that I would just treat the first qualifying session as another practice run.  Sure enough, the track went green and I was sitting in P1.  Getting pole position was very important for us in two ways; the first was that it gave us excellent track position to start off the race and secondly we were awarded three bonus points towards the championship standings.

With the first pole of the season in my hands, I still knew that the race was going to be tough.  As soon as the green dropped I led into turn one.  As the race unfolded I was finding the similar pattern of the “chess game.”  I knew the best way to win the race was to enter the final lap in second-place.  As the white flag came out I set up the pass and made it stick leading my opponent to the checkered by three-tenths of a second.

I remember being so thrilled as I crossed the line.  I threw my fist in the air and shouted to my team “That’s what I call a start to a season, great job guys!”  The podium ceremony felt so redeeming.

Adrian Starrantino (photo: F1600/Valet)

Adrian Starrantino (photo: F1600/Valet)

After the great win on Saturday, I was determined to repeat my success on Sunday as well.  I qualified in P2 right behind one of my teammates, Ayla Agren, which put us in a great position for the start of race number two of the season.

My team had told me that my main competitor from race one was starting in the back of the field for race two.  I automatically knew that my strategy was going to change.  I thought to myself that it’s all about pacing now.  Keep the tire life as long as possible.  As the green flag waved, I got a jump on Ayla.  As we exited turn one I saw nothing but chaos in my mirrors and almost instantly the full-course caution came out.

As the field prepared for the restart, I checked my mirrors and saw my strongest competitor from race one sitting in P3.  My strategy was going to change yet again and I needed a repeat from the day prior.  As the race led up to the last couple laps, Jake Eidson and I checked out from the field.  I knew that if I had him right in front of me going into the last lap that I would have the advantage.  As the white flag came out I can remember everything getting really quiet… the crew, my breathing patterns, everything.  As we exited Oak Tree corner heading onto the back straight I had Jake in perfect position to overtake.  Right near the end of the straight I popped and made the pass stick.  The emotion was higher than ever going into the last section of the track.  As we popped out of the final corner he was right behind me getting a tow, we crossed the line and I beat him to the stripe by the tiniest margin.  Taking the second consecutive win of the weekend was incredible.  I could not believe it.

Sweeping the weekend in such a manner gives us such momentum heading into round two at Road Atlanta.  With 10 more races to go, the team and I know where we stand and what we have to do to be in the fight for the 2013 Championship title.

For up-to-date news and views on karting and junior formula racing follow @JOWT on Twitter or follow on Facebook.

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Linkage April 7, 2013

Posted April 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm F1600 Series, Indy Lights, linkage, Skip Barber Comments

Carlos Munoz dominated today's 40-lap Indy Lights race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. (photo: IndyCar.com)

Carlos Munoz dominated today’s 40-lap Indy Lights race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
(photo: IndyCar.com)

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing development driver Kyle O’Gara confirmed he will make his Indy Lights debut with SFHR and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports during the Freedom 100 in Indianapolis.

Open-wheel standout Jake Eidson made history this weekend by claiming his third-consecutive Skip Barber Racing Series title; winning the Winter Championship. Eidson will join Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing for a two-year development program running the F1600 Formula F Championship in 2013 and USF2000 in 2014. Make sure to read JOWT’s interview with Jake from last December.

Take a quick glance at the new Skip Barber Formula 2000 MZR car during a winter test at Road Atlanta.

Conor Daly will drive in the Indy 500 this year! Daly will pilot the No. 41 machine for A.J. Foyt Racing.

Indy Lights drivers just finished up their weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. Take a tour of the 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course with Peter Dempsey, courtesy of EFCN’s Track Walk. In the race, Carlos Munoz avoided a repeat of St. Pete; this time earning a wire-to-wire victory after dominating practice and qualifying. The margin of victory stood at 5.0684 seconds with Jack Hawksworth finishing runner-up and Gabby Chaves completing the podium. The real action was the battle for fourth between Sage Karam (who held the spot),Peter Dempsey (6th), Jorge Goncalvez (5th), and Juan Pablo Garcia (8th). Garcia, who ended up with a drive-through penalty resulting from contact with Karam, had a stellar race conserving his tires until the end of the 40-lap event. Check out the rest of the results and the full box score here.

For up-to-date news and views on karting and junior formula racing follow @JOWT on Twitter or follow on Facebook.

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2013 F1600 Formula F Championship Schedule

Posted December 21, 2012 at 10:30 am F1600 Series, Schedule Comments

The 2013 F1600 Formula F Championship schedule features 12 races.

The 2013 F1600 Formula F Championship schedule features 12 races.

The F1600 Formula F Championship Series today announced its 2013 schedule, featuring 12 races spread over six events. Watkins Glen will not be on the calendar this season due to age restrictions. The schedule looks pretty good despite offering a two-month break from May 25’s event at Lime Rock to the race on July 26 at Mid-Ohio. The calendar also features back-to-back stops at Mid-Ohio in July and August. Without further ado, check out the full schedule below.

2013 F1600 Formula F Championship Series Schedule *

April 11-14, VIR

May 9-11, Road Atlanta

May 24-25, Lime Rock

July 26-28, Mid-Ohio

August 9-11, Mid-Ohio

August 23-25, Summit Point

*dates are tentative and subject to change

For up-to-date news and views on karting and junior formula racing follow @JOWT on Twitter or follow on Facebook.

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Interview: Jack Mitchell Jr.

Posted July 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm F1600 Series, Interview, Skip Barber Comments

Jack Mitchell Jr. winning his first F1600 race with Brian Graham Racing at Mosport. (photo: BGR)

JOWT: Jack, Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for Junior Open Wheel Talent and its readers. How are you enjoying your 2012 season?

JM: Thank you for the opportunity and support.  I am a big fan of Junior Open Wheel Talent and appreciate the exposure that you provide to junior racers.

The 2012 season has been very exciting for me. I have been able to travel to many great cities in North America representing the United States in both series. This has exposed me to great places and people. I am having so much fun traveling with my family and crew, and I am also engaging with other international junior racers. I am very pleased with my escalating success and consistency as well.  This season has been a very beneficial and an enjoyable journey.

JOWT: You’ve recently been winning in both a Skip Barber formula car and the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship in Canada. What do you attribute to the recent success?

Jack Mitchell Jr. (Photo Art)

JM: It is very hard to pinpoint one specific thing for my results. I only started driving two years ago at the age of 14. I had the goal to work hard, listen, and never make the same mistake twice!  With the help of my management and coaching team of Exclusive Management , Kyle Marcelli, and my father I have been able to excel recently. I have learned that getting into the car is the last step of a very complicated process. My program has consisted of many off-track activities including: formal education on dynamics, psychology, exercise, pre-race review, and mental fitness. This process allows me to learn a new track quickly, and apply off track activities in a formal manner.  I have applied this technique to obtain 14 podiums that includes 4 wins in 14 races in the Skip Barber Race Series and 3 straight podiums with the first Honda powered win ever in the Toyo Tires Ontario Formula Ford Series. My success has come from the realization that consistency and safety is key to win a championship and I plan to continue to drive with this theme for the remainder of my career.

JOWT: What has been the biggest challenge for you this season?

JM: The biggest challenge for me was changing my whole mental game going into this season. In 2011 I had good results, but I made more mistakes because I had my mind focused on the 1st place trophy at the end of the weekend, rather than the more important 1st place championship trophy at the end of the year. When I matured enough to realize that I should focus on consistency and just driving the car, rather than the results, is when the success really started to come

JOWT: Can you describe the difference between your Skip Barber and F1600 car? How has Skip Barber helped prepare you for your move to F1600?

JM: The largest differences between the two cars is the off track adjustments and on track driving style. During F1600 weekends I go over data with my engineer and coach and make changes to the car depending on what we see. This fundamental understanding of how my driving and a car operate together has allowed me to become a better racer in any car that I drive.  On track, the F1600 is faster, has more grip, and needs to be driven significantly smoother than the Skip Barber car. The brakes are also much more efficient, and operated with your left foot instead of your right. Skip Barber has helped me prepare for F1600 by teaching me race craft and car control, which made the jump to a more advanced car much easier. Without Skip Barber none of my success in a F1600 car would be possible.

JOWT: What are your goals for the remainder of the year?

JM: My main goal is to win both the Skip Barber and Ontario Formula Ford championships. I’m currently 1st overall in the Skip Barber Series, and 2nd overall in Ontario Formula Ford. I believe winning the two championships is a realistic goal. Also, I think it would be great to finish the Skip Barber Series with all 20 of my races on the podium and I hope to secure the Road to Indy scholarship with Skip Barber at the 2012 shootout.

JOWT: Looking ahead, …Are you working toward a specific program for 2013? Have you done any testing outside of F1600 this summer?

JM: I plan to continue up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder by competing in the USF2000 series in 2013. I have driven some closed wheel cars and Formula 2000 cars as well with success. I will be testing for USF2000 later this year. I am also working on sponsorship and business relationships for the future.

JOWT: How would you describe your life outside of the car? Do you have a specific fitness routine you follow?

JM: I like to work out, play soccer, and spend time with my friends and family. Much of my life is spent studying for my classes during the school year, but during the summer I train using iRacing frequently and do a lot of charity work. I run to stay in shape, go to the local gym, and do quite a bit of neck and core strengthening exercises for when I get into more advanced cars!

JOWT: Aside from racing, what are your hobbies?

JM: I’m currently trying out for my high-school varsity soccer team, and getting into running. Also, a Formula 1 Xbox showdown happens between my Dad, brother and me every weekend. My Dad is still the household champion!

JOWT: Is there anyone you’d like the opportunity to thank?

JM: I’d like to thank Exclusive Management, my Dad, my brother, Kyle Marcelli, Brian Graham Racing, Bell Helmets, California Scents, SMXOptics, Skip Barber Racing School, Art Rotondo, Urban TriGear, WSWH, IAA, Veyron Marketing, Toyo Tires, Honda, Piper, The Mazda Road to Indy, and all the Skip Barber and Brian Graham Racing Mechanics, Margret Johnston, Joe Champagna, and everyone else who supports me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of them.

For up-to-date news and views on karting and junior formula racing follow @JOWT on Twitter or follow on Facebook.

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I tweeted the news earlier this week, but missed posting it; Canadian karting standout Jesse Lazare will join Brian Graham Racing Team Grote in the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship, beginning this weekend June 23-24 at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Lazare, who recently completed a pair of successful test days with the squad at Shannonville Motorsports Park, will drive the No. 21 Piper DF5/Honda car. He will partner Jack Mitchell Jr. who’s had a great start to his F1600 season, despite a few setbacks. Watch for even more progress as the two teammates begin to work together and push one another.

For up-to-date news and views on karting and junior formula racing follow @JOWT on Twitter or follow on Facebook.

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