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European talent in the Mazda Road to Indy

This topic contains 38 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of SP SP 1 week, 2 days ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 39 total)
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  • #133938
    Avatar of SP
    SP
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    USF2000

    Alexandre Baron – The 2012 French Formula 4 (formerly known as F. Renault Campus) champion entered USF2000 late in 2013 as an unregistered driver. He was an immediate contender, winning 2 of his 4 starts in the series.

    Henrik Furuseth – After securing the Norwegian Formula Ford championship in 2011, Furuseth entered the USF2000 national sub-class, winning the category in 2012. He finished 4th overall in the main championship this year.

    Florian Latorre – With Belgian and TAG International karting championship titles to his credit, Latorre stepped up to single seaters at the age of 15. After one year in the French F4 series, he relocated across the Atlantic and joined the USF2000 grid this season. Following a respectable 6th in the 2013 points, he will be returning to the category for 2014.

    Pro Mazda

    Anders Krohn – Having won several karting titles, Krohn entered the Dutch and Benelux Formula Ford championships in 2007, ending the year runner-up in both. A move to the US saw him win the F2000 title in 2008, and two years later he was runner-up to Conor Daly in Star Mazda (now Pro Mazda). A less impressive Indy Lights campaign saw him step back down to Pro Mazda, where he finished 4th in both 2013 starts.

    Petri Suvanto – Finnish drivers are a rare sight in US open wheel racing, but Suvanto proved to be more than an enigma. Having won two karting titles in Finland and placed well in European championships from 2006-2009, he made the switch to USF2000 in 2011 after one year of single seater racing in Europe. He was champion in his debut season, and duly moved up to Star Mazda placing 5th in 2012.

    Indy Lights

    Jack Hawksworth – Following a distinguished karting career that included multiple Rotax class titles and the Andrea Margutti Trophy, Hawksworth placed a respectable 4th in the 2011 UK Formula Renault season. Citing the scholarships available in the MRTI, he made the decision to further his career in the US, successfully taking the 2012 Star Mazda title with a 50% win rate. Stepping up to Indy Lights this year, he won 3 races but poor oval performances knocked him out of title contention.

    Peter Dempsey – A front-runner in UK and Northern Irish Formula Ford, Dempsey ran into funding problems in the 2007 season despite numerous race victories. This motivated him to seek opportunities overseas, specifically in the Star Mazda championship, where he placed third and second in successive years with 9 race wins from 27 starts. Entering the Indy Lights championship in 2011, part-time campaigns did not yield much initial success. A switch to Belardi Auto Racing for 2013 saw Dempsey take the Freedom 100 race win at Indianapolis in a four-wide photo finish. He placed 5th in the points after missing the final round at Fontana.

    New prospects

    Scott Malvern – You would expect Malvern’s racing record to have attracted the attention of talent scouts in Europe. The winner of the 2009 Midland Formula Ford series; 2011 UK and European Formula Ford titles; 2012 UK Formula Renault BARC championship along with the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy, found himself out of a race seat just 1 weekend into the 2013 season. After a test in Team Pelfrey’s Star Mazda car earlier this year, he expressed an interest in forwarding his career in the MRTI.

    Jack Harvey – Best known for winning the 2012 British Formula 3 championship, he also closely fought for the Formula BMW title with Robin Frijns in 2010. In 2013, a move to the GP3 series saw Harvey take 2 victories and place 5th in the championship. His backers, the Racing Steps Foundation, believe he has better prospects in the United States and Indycar. Harvey tested an Indy Lights car with Schmidt Motorsports recently, and was positive about the experience. A second test is planned next month.

    #245567
    Avatar of wsrgo
    wsrgo
    Participant

    Alexandre Baron – The 2012 French Formula 4 (formerly known as F. Renault Campus) champion entered USF2000 late in 2013 as an unregistered driver. He was an immediate contender, winning 2 of his 4 starts in the series.

    You forgot to mention his forgettable FR2.0 campaign…0 points in both NEC and Eurocup….

    Nicolas Costa, the 2012 Formula Abarth champion, participated in a few rounds of the Pro Mazda championship this year.

    Pipo Derani, who finished 8th in the European F3 championship with Fortec, and third in Macau, will participate in Pro Mazda next year.

    Jack Hawksworth did test GP3 post-season at Abu Dhabi, so he might be thinking of a return to Europe, if he he manages to get the funding.

    #245568
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Thanks for the tip on Costa, I didn’t recognize him. As for Baron in FR2.0, with very little experience in single seaters the odd bad race is to be expected. Why he didn’t seem to adapt to the car after a few rounds is strange though.

    #245569
    Avatar of Iestyn Davies
    Iestyn Davies
    Participant

    Baron could have funding problems or something like that, which is maybe why he is seeking out better opportunities in the USA. I get the feeling that Derani, Harvey etc. are moving for the same reason. I’ve seen Scott Malvern win pretty much everything he sat it, and despite plenty of blogging on driver database, it seems he can’t catch a break in Europe with getting sponsors to move up the ladder. So he could be very successful in the MRTI. The incentives are now starting to bring over a serious amount of talent! Not sure if this is good news for the series, or bad news for the American drivers.. At least we have Karam for now, who is very talented.. next step is to get him established in IndyCar.

    But Indy Lights next year could be very competitive: Harvey, Hawksworth, Brabham, Chaves, Dempsey, Veach.. guys stepping up..
    Nice shout out to Wyatt Gooden, the iRacing champion who won a scholarship from the sim company to take part in VW Jettas, who now has gotten himself a USF2000 season and came a competitive 5th in 2013. He could do well in Pro Mazda as well.. along with Costa, Krohn, the top guys there.. Malvern should start here if he can..

    #245570
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Belardi Auto Racing (https://twitter.com/BelardiRacing) have announced that Nicolas Jamin will be their fourth driver in the 2014 USF2000 championship. He finished 7th in the 2012 French Formula 4 series, and then 7th again in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC standings this year.

    #245571
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Looks like Jack Harvey and Alex Baron are in Indy Lights cars today…times so far:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BbD_J-wCUAEGE0n.jpg:large

    #245572
    Avatar of SP
    SP
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    #245573
    Avatar of wsrgo
    wsrgo
    Participant

    @jb001 Feeling a bit sad for Harvey, as he had a pretty decent rookie campaign in GP3 this year. Did Racing Steps stop backing him, I wonder?
    Hope he has a good future in America. Feeling chuffed for Baron too, hopefully he’ll be able to put his disappointing Formula Renault 2.0 campaign behind him, and show more of the form which guided him to the French F4 title.

    #245574
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    RSF is still backing Harvey (except towards Indycar) because of high costs and low opportunities on the F1 side. As for Baron, I’m surprised his management team skipped USF2000 and Pro Mazda, as he has very little single seater experience at this point.

    #245575
    Avatar of wsrgo
    wsrgo
    Participant

    Ah yes, I’d forgotten Baron did only a part-campaign of US F2000. I expected him to be in Pro Mazda, but this is indeed a bit of a steep jump for him. Maybe his new management (given that Nicolas Todt doesn’t manage him anymore) are confident about Baron, or maybe they think Indy Lights, with a smaller field than Mazdas, might not be as competitive, and might help Baron get some eye-catching results? Or maybe they simply don’t think much of the opposition. I don’t know what their train of thought is.
    Also, good to see RSF still with Harvey, even if it means he’s probably bidding adieu to a future in F1. Indy is a good alternative, and Lights is just right for the GP3 graduate, unlike Baron. Hope he can do well.

    #245576
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    As I understand it, Baron was up to speed very quickly in his first oval test at Lucas Oil Raceway in a USF2000 car. The Indy Lights test at Barber Motorsports Park probably isn’t representative due to the weather conditions, and the fact that several teams didn’t make the trip (there’s another open test in early 2014). I’m expecting to see a drastic increase in entries over the next 2-3 years, especially as drivers and teams filter up from Pro Mazda, along with returning ones from previous seasons. Carlin may join as well in 2015.

    #245577
    Avatar of Iestyn Davies
    Iestyn Davies
    Participant

    Maybe Baron’s management were just trying to save some cash and hence go all out for a year of Indy Lights. Pro Mazda then Indy Lights would be ideal, but maybe they can’t guarantee that.

    It would be nice to see Carlin getting involved in the US ladder! Harvey is realistic in thinking there is more chance of him being a paid professional racing driver in the US rather than Europe.

    #245578
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Pro Mazda is about half the cost (~$350k) and the scholarship for winning the title covers the cost of an Indy Lights season. Still, it’ll be interesting to see how Baron fares next year.

    Edit: It seems he did indeed receive offers from USF2000 and Pro Mazda teams, but took up Belardi on their sponsored Indy Lights effort instead.

    ‘”It’s incredible,” said Baron. “Joining Belardi Auto Racing is exceptional opportunity at a level that I could not imagine some months ago. I knew that after my wins in the last meetings of the USF2000 series, my manager Thierry Germanovitch [of 13ème Avenue] had received several offers for the next season in USF2000, and also in the Pro Mazda series, but it will be unbelievable to be in the Belardi Auto Racing Liberty Engineering Indy Lights car!’

    http://eformulacarnews.com/news_info.php?n=13226

    #245579
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Autosport have reported that Luiz Razia will test a Schmidt Indy Lights car at Sebring: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/112042

    Among those on the entry list are Vittorio Ghirelli, the reigning AutoGP champion, and Raoul Owens who placed 9th overall in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC last season.

    #245580
    Avatar of wsrgo
    wsrgo
    Participant

    I understand the logic behind Razia and Owens, but I am a bit surprised about Ghirelli. He won AutoGP last year and looked reasonably handy in the fw GP2 races he did, despite his youth and inexperience. He’s done GP3 and World Series before, surely he isn’t too cash-strapped? Unless he requires his Italian friends in GP2 to give him a seat, which won’t happen at Lazarus next year, as they are going to field Venezuelan drivers. Trident and Rapax remain his only hope, but I don’t know how much money he has.

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