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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Formula F Growth Continues as 2014 Season Begins

The 2014 professional Formula F season kicked off in January with the start of the Pacific Formula F1600 Championship at Auto Club Speedway near Los Angeles, while several new teams and drivers announced their plans for the upcoming F1600 Formula F Championship Series plans were announced for a Formula F “45th Birthday Party” at Barber Motorsports Park in August.

Pacific F1600 Championship at Auto Club Speedway

In California, the Pacific F1600 Championship opened January 17-19 at the 2.88-mile infield road course at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, with veteran Ethan Shippert and young newcomer Nikita Lastochkin each claiming a victory in the first doubleheader race weekend of the season.

Rookie Lastochkin, who recently announced plans to compete in both the eastern and western Formula F championships this year, qualified on the pole both days and led portions of the first race until a spin and late-race electrical issues ended his day.  Veteran Shippert then went on to claim his second career Formula F win, and first of 2014. 

In Sunday’s finale, Lastochkin again got off to a quick start and was never headed for his first professional Formula F victory.  Shippert survived wheel-to-wheel contact on the opening lap with Chuck Horn, as the latter’s Swift-Honda vaulted over Shippert’s Piper-Honda under braking for the first turn.  Both were able to continue with Shippert finishing fourth and Horn, fifth. 

Next up for the Pacific F1600 Championship Series is the April 25-37 SCCA doubleheader weekend at Buttonwillow Raceway.  More information on the series is available at www.pacificF2000.com. 

F1600 Formula F Adds New Drivers, Teams

The eastern U.S.-based F1600 Formula F Championship season doesn’t open until April, but a number of new drivers have already announced their plans to take part in the 14-race series, along with three new teams.

Florida-based Team Pelfrey brings a heritage of IndyCar competition to Formula F as it joins the series with a powerful, three-car lineup headed by 20-year-old Ayla Agren, who scored a pole and three podium finishes in 2013. 

Augie Lerch, a 17-year-old graduate or SKUSA’s Spec Honda shifter kart class, is a promising rookie find for Pelfrey; along with 21-year-old Garth Rickards who won a Skip Barber race series event at Homestead, Florida, in 2013, in his first year of racing. 

HP Tech, a two-time winner of the Ferrari Challenge Championship and the 2012 F2000 Championship with driver Robert La Rocca, enters to Formula F for the 2014 season with the successful Australian-build Spectrum Honda chassis.  Spectrum-mounted Jake Eidson won the 2013 Formula F title, and moves up to the USF2000 Championship in 2014.   Veterans Scott Rubenzer, Art Foster and Mike Scanlan also will be Spectrum-mounted in 2014.

Virginia-based WISKO Race Engineering had a very successful debut Formula F season in 2013, challenging for the title with driver Aaron Telitz.  Nikita Latsochkin, already a winner in the west coast-based Pacific F1600 Championship, also will drive a WISKO Mygale Honda in the eastern series.  He will be joined by rookie Will Harvey, coming to Formula F from the Bertil Roos Racing Series. 

The 14-race 2014 F1600 Formula F Championship Series opens April 11-13 at Road Atlanta for the first of seven double-header weekends.  Additional information on the F1600 Formula F Championship Series can be found at http://www.f1600series.com/.

Formula F To Be Featured at Barber Summer SpeedFest

The 45th birthday of Formula F class will highlight the SCCA Summer SpeedFest at Barber Motorsports Park, August 9-10.  Three classes of Formula F machines – Formula F, Club and Vintage – representing the beginning of Formula Ford through the modern day National Championship contenders, will run on the anniversary weekend, which will run as part of a doubleheader SCCA race weekend.

A large turnout is expected at the Barber circuit, located in Birmingham, Alabama.  The celebration comes five years after HPD unveiled its new engine for Formula F during the Formula F 40th Birthday Party at Road America in 2009. 

Since the Honda L157A engine became eligible for Formula F at the start of 2010, more than 100 engines have been sold by HPD, and the category has experienced exponential growth, including an increase in SCCA Club Racing competition, the start of two new professional racing series in the USA and an increasing number of young racers graduating from karting to Formula F competition.

A detailed schedule for the two-day weekend will be announced soon, but the schedule is expected to include a practice, qualifying and 30-minute sprint races on Saturday, with a warm-up and longer 50-mile races on Sunday. More information on the SafeRacer SCCA Club Racing program can be found at www.scca.com.   



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