AMSF Backs Daniel Erickson's USA Racing Campaign

August 5, 2010

Daniel Erickson's American F2000 Championship Series campaign has received a late-season boost from the Australian Motor Sport Foundation.

With insufficient funds to commit to the full 14-round series, Erickson has been contesting the national 'development' openwheel series on a round-by-round basis with leading USA team Primus Racing.

The young Australian driver skipped four rounds during May and June to conserve his resources, but now the AMSF has stepped in to assure his participation at the final two race meetings.

The first meeting is this weekend at Road America in Wisconsin, with the finale scheduled for September 4-5 at Mid Ohio.

AMSF General Manager Martin Stillman welcomed Erickson, who competed in British Formula Ford last year as a member of the AMSF International Rising Star squad, 'back to the fold'.

"We have been following Daniel's progress in the 2010 F2000 Championship Series with great interest," Mr Stillman said.

"Despite never having raced at any of the three circuits he's been to so far, he's scored four pole positions (including one qualifying lap record), two race wins, two second places and two fastest race laps from the six rounds he has contested.

"He's the leading rookie driver despite missing four rounds, and has a good chance of placing in the top three in the final pointscore.

"That's no mean feat in a series that consistently fields around 30 cars at each round.

"However, recently it became apparent that Daniel would struggle financially to complete his ambitious USA racing program, so we've found the funds to guarantee his entry in the final rounds of the F2000 Championship Series."

Mr Stillman said that the AMSF was pleased to be able to assist its former International Rising Star once again.

"Daniel has always been a 'Rising Star' in every sense – not only behind the steering wheel, where he has demonstrated great natural ability as well as fierce determination to overcome whatever obstacles are in his path, but away from the racetrack as an ambassador for Australian motor sport.

"I am thrilled that the AMSF is in a position to assist Daniel at this crucial stage of his racing career, and look forward to his continued development and success."

Naturally, Erickson was very happy – and not a little relieved! – to hear the AMSF's good news.

"Martin Stillman's phone call, confirming that the AMSF had been able to raise additional funding, was the best news I've had all year!" an excited Erickson said from his USA base in Ohio.

"Having tried without success to obtain corporate support to race in the USA this year, I appreciate how the global financial crisis is affecting motor sport sponsorship at all levels everywhere.

"I am very grateful for the AMSF's support, which will enable me to finish the F2000 Championship Series, he said.

The funding boost would make a difference to his approach to his racing at Road America this weekend, Erickson continued.

"This is a huge relief, because there has been constant uncertainty over whether I could continue racing in the USA.

"But now that I'll definitely be at Road America and Mid Ohio, I can concentrate on my driving and not worry about financial matters for the time being."

Mr Stillman added that the latest funding package was significant, in that it marked the first time that the AMSF had assisted an Australian driver who was racing in the USA.

"This initiative marks a geographic expansion of our driver assistance strategy," he said.

"Previously we've focused on the UK, traditionally the favoured destination of aspiring Formula 1 champions.

"However, the unification of the two IndyCar championships, as well as the prospect of a USA Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2012, have spurred USA interest in 'formula car' racing.

"The openwheeler scene over there is a competitive and cost-effective alternative to Europe.

"Categories such as F2000, Formula Star Mazda, Indy Lights and IndyCars give talented Australian drivers the option of climbing the motor racing ladder all the way to Formula 1 via America.

"Another benefit for our young drivers is that race-by-race and end-of-series prizes are generally superior to what's on offer in Europe.

"Several USA 'development' series provide their champions with fully funded drives in next-level categories, whereas in Europe race and series winners often finish the year with little more than a full trophy cabinet."

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