Salem, NH – The F1600, F2000 and Atlantic Championship Series will be the showcase at the Palm Beach Grand Prix this weekend, the first ever off-season exhibition races for each series. The pre-season weekend format features a hefty amount of track time and a single race for each group on Saturday afternoon.
The event runs from February 12 to 14 at the 2.034-mile 11-turn Palm Beach International Raceway during a spectator event in South Florida. Thursday and Friday will feature practice sessions with the Saturday schedule having morning qualifying sessions and afternoon races.
For the F1600 Formula F Championship Series, 2014 title-winning squad Team Pelfrey is back with a trio of yellow Mygale/Hondas. Jordan Cane, Rob Megennis and Ben Auriemma are all out of karting and making their pro F1600 debuts.
Chastain Motorsports ended the 2014 season with a three car entry at Watkins Glen, and will expand for 2015, going to four cars. All four drivers will be on hand in the team’s blue Mygale/Hondas and coached by IndyCar’s Jay Howard. Will Harvey returns for his second F1600 season, and is joined by Parker Chase, Andy Lewis and Kyle Kirkwood, the latter of whom calls Palm Beach home.
Both teams have been active in off-season testing and development work and are expected to be title favorites for the expanded 21-race points-paying schedule that features seven triple-header weekends in F1600.
Other contenders include K-Hill’s recently signed Austin Mack and three-time F1600 race winner Jim Goughary, who hails from nearby Jupiter, Florida.
The big news on the F2000 Championship Series entry list is the return of 2014 Championship runner-up Skylar Robinson. Still looking to put a full program together for the year, Robinson will be driving a Radon chassis engineered by Eric Langbein, switching from the Citation chassis campaigned last season.
Momentum Motorsports will enter a single Van Diemen for Quinlan Lall, ahead of a two-car 2015 program for the 14-race F2000 season that starts with F1600 and Atlantic at Road Atlanta in April.
A pair of updated RFRs are entered for the McCusker brothers and Dotworks Racing, with Austin moving up to F2000 alongside brother John after sampling the RFR chassis at Watkins Glen in late 2014. Austin had previously run nearly two full seasons in F1600 competition.
David D’Addario will debut his new Van Diemen after running the last few years with an RFR chassis. D’addario’s No. 37 was most recently raced by Kyle Connery with victories in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
In addition, Fifteen-year-old Spencer Brockman is making his first pro F2000 start for K-Hill.
Also key are new Hoosier spec tires for 2015, which will be made available to teams for the first time.
While both the F2000 and F1600 race will run 30 minutes, the Atlantic race will be 40 minutes, as will all 14 Atlantic races in 2015.
Tonis Kasemets will head up the Atlantic field in the No. 11 K-Hill Swift 016/Mazda. Kasemets brings a wide range of experience to the grid and may be near untouchable in an Atlantic machine. K-Hill expects to have a number of entries, while Lewis Cooper Jr. will be at Palm Beach for Polestar and J.R. Smart straps into his Swift 014 for Pabst.
The F2000, F1600 and Atlantic competitors are pairing up for the weekend with The Stuttgart Cup, featuring Cayman Boxster Porsches, as well as the Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy. Two-day Friday and Saturday tickets are just $25, and parking at the track is free. A car show will run for the duration of Saturday and is also $25 to enter, including tickets and parade laps on the course.