Crunch Time for F1600 Championship
Lakeville, CT – With four races to go, coming off a 10-week break since Mid-Ohio, the inaugural battle for the F1600 Formula F Championship Series crown is heating up heading into the doubleheader weekend at Lime Rock Park. Tim Kautz leads the way, with two wins and strong finishes in his Piper/Ford, but Lime Rock will pose challenges for the Championship leader with a host of local experts and young guns expected to challenge for the wins. Twenty-eight cars are entered.
Kautz leads in the points race, with the lowest two points drops figured in, by 22 points over Bill Valet, with another 17 points back to Jim Goughary, and then two more points back to John Robinson.
“We will approach this new track the same way we do every time we go racing – to win,” said Kautz. “There is not much time to get a handle on the track and car set up.”
Valet will look to eat into Kautz’s points lead as F1600 supports both the F2000 Series and NASCAR Modifieds at Lime Rock.
“It's going to be tough to take the title from Tim.
His consistency is simply amazing,” Valet, a New Yorker, said, adding that between Mid-Ohio and Lime Rock, his Swift/Ford has been completely rebuilt.
“I'm going to need to keep the car on track for the remainder of the year if I'm to have any chance of winning the title. I know Lime Rock really well, and expect to have a good showing there. But the problem with Lime Rock is that it’s hard to pass and easy to ball up the car,” continued Valet.
Adding to the storylines, both Kautz and Valet will head from Lime Rock, finishing the weekend on Saturday evening with the second race, and go straight to Road America, needing to be there by Monday morning to start preparations for the SCCA National Championship.
Sitting third in points, with the first Honda, is Jim Goughary and his Piper chassis. The VIR winner “cut his teeth” racing at Lime Rock, and spent the break doing some testing with the car.
“The goal for Lime Rock? Two poles, two wins,” answered Goughary.
Fourth in points, John Robinson, will again have two cars, Swift DB6s at Lime Rock, with both engine options.
Caitlin Johnston rounds out the top five in the Championship after an uncharacteristic weekend at Mid-Ohio, and hopes to bounce back at Lime Rock where she said the narrow-track Van Diemen/Honda will be more suited to the race track. Johnston was able to log laps in her car at a number of Canadian road courses, including Mosport, over the break.
After missing Mid-Ohio with a broken leg, Colin Thompson returns with TTO Motorsports and his Swift DB6/Honda. Thompson, 17-years-old, led at Watkins Glen, and graced the cover of Sports Car Magazine and its First Gear column over the summer.
Thompson hopes to pick up valuable points to seal the Alegra Motorsports F2000 test at the end of the season, awarded to the best-placing driver under the age of 21 in the standings.
Ryan Leach, meanwhile, will move to the Spectrum/Honda chassis at Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. That car finished second twice at Mid-Ohio. Leach has had an unlucky year, plagued with DNFs, and sits way down the points order in 22nd.
“I recently drove the Spectrum in a test and I was very impressed with the whole package and I believe we should be quick right out of the box,” Leach noted.
A two-day weekend features a busy Friday, September 16. F1600 teams will have a 25-minute practice at 10:30 a.m, followed by another practice at 2:25 p.m., qualifying for race one at 3:30, and qualifying for race two at 5:35. Saturday is race day, with a large crowd expected at Lime Rock. An early-morning 9:20 a.m. warm-up is followed by race one at 11:15 and race two at 4:45 p.m. Live updates will be available on F1600Series.com