2009 F2000 Season Preview
New York, NY - The long winter break for the drivers and teams of the F2000 Championship Series comes to a close this Thursday as the series opens its fourth season at the 17-turn Virginia International Raceway. A full field of 30 cars is expected to take the green for rounds one and two of the 12-round 2009 season, giving the F2000 Series the largest field in American open wheel racing.
The F2000 Series remains firmly positioned on the continent's open wheel ladder system offering the best professional entry level program for both seasoned and up-and-coming competitors. With 2008 F2000 Champion Anders Krohn moving to Star Mazda, the championship is up for grabs.
Series co-owner Robert Wright commented, "I am looking forward to the season. I think the schedule is good and what it should be this year given the economy. We have three great high-profile weekends and three low profile ones with really good on-track schedules, all at great road racing tracks. We continue to try to improve the series by listening the the teams and drivers, and operating in a careful, realistic manner- never promising something we can't deliver. I'm excited that the series has started to attract some new talent- I think there are 10 rookies in the field- and I'd be hard pressed at this time to predict a series champion. A number of the rookies all know each other from the karting ranks and that should make the racing very interesting."
American Chris Miller, who finished fourth in last year's points standings, is a favorite for race wins and the 2009 title as he returns for another year with the Minnesota based JDC Motorsports. JDC adds a second car alongside Miller for Mexican rookie Alejandro Munoz.
2006 series champion GTP Motorsports will field Masters Class drivers Tom Fatur, Chirs Camadella, and Peter Gonzalez alongside Phil Lombardi.
Canadian Remy Audette returns with Audette Racing. Audette finished an impressive ninth in the 2008 championship having missed six of the 14 races and is expected to be a title contender.
“Last season was a learning season for us. We finished on the podium a few times but weren’t able to win a race. This year we are running the full season, aiming to win the title. We are ready to take it to the rest of the field and build upon what we learned last season,” said Audette. “We made a lot of improvements to the car over the offseason which should improve the handling.”
Alegra Motorsports will field two cars for rookie Brazilian karting stars Fabio Orsolon and Victor Carbone. Alegra joins the contingent of F2000 teams for 2009 bringing with them a huge amount of road racing experience, having won the GT class in the 2007 24 Hours of Daytona. Both Brazilians are expected to be very quick.
Seven-time SCCA national champion Dave Weitzenhof will run the only Citation in the field, having converted the car to the Zetec power plant over the offseason. F2000 veteran Jesse Yorio will represent the only Piper in the field.
2009 Masters Class champion Tim Minor and his Ski Motorsports team return to defend their title, having finished fifth in the overall 2008 standings. Masters Class iron-man Craig Clawson will be back for his fourth season, having started every F2000 race to date. John Dole, Jeff McCusker and Brent Gilkes return for 2009, looking to unseat Tim Minor in the Masters Class.
Z-Sports Midwest is back with two fast rookies. Canadian Caitlin Johnston will run the full season after finishing a strong seventh in her first weekend with the series last season. Lining up next to her will be young American Benjamin Searcy, who graduates to the series from karting with Skip Barber experience.
Group A Racing will make their F2000 championship series debut with American rookies Jonathan Scarallo and Colin Alexander. Scarallo took the 2008 Bertil Roos F2000 series, winning eight of 16 races, finishing on the podium 15 times. Teammate Colin Alexander also moves up from the Bertil Roos series, collecting eight podiums and rookie of the year title during the 2008 season.
ASDA/Wright Racing returns for another season with three cars, Robert Wright and Al Guibord Jr will contest the 2009 championship with rookie American teammate Blake Teeter.
CG Racing will participate in its first F2000 race this weekend as Christopher Gumprecht returns with the newly formed team for his third season.
CenDiv SCCA Formula Continental standout Brian Belardi ran his first F2000 event last season at Elkhart Lake and enters the full season under the Liberty Motorsports awning. Bobby Caldwell completes the Liberty Motorsports entry, having converted to Zetec power in the offseason.
St. Clair Motorsports, who won the 2007 F2000 title with Cole Morgan, enters two cars for VIR. Jerry Szykulski who has raced everything from Formula Fords to Atlantics over the last 10 years will wheel the #30, lining up next to up-and-coming American talent Matthew Inge who returns for a second season.
The 2009 schedule features six events and 12 races, opening at VIR this coming weekend. From there the series heads to the recently renovated Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day Weekend. F2000 will share the track with Koni Challenge and Historic Grand Prix.
On the weekend of June 14th, the series will head north of the border and return to Mosport with Nascar Canadian Tire Series.
Then it's onto Watkins Glen, July 2nd to the 5th, with the IRL Indy Car Series. After that, F2000 invades Summit Point highlighting an all open-wheel weekend, July 16-19th, before closing out the season at Mid-Ohio, August 13-16th.
The action gets underway on Thursday with test sessions in the morning and official practice sessions in the afternoon. Friday and Saturday both feature a morning qualifying session and afternoon race. Fans can follow the action on the recently re-launched F2000ChampionshipSeries.com for race reports, driver blogs, feature stories, pictures, video and results