Exclusive PittRace Report
Exclusive Autosport claimed the F1600 Formula F Championship Series title this weekend courtesy of a third place finish for Australia’s Scott Andrews in the opening race of the season finale hosted at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th October.
Having dominated F1600 competition in Canada since its inception in 2013, Exclusive Autosport – the official North American factory Spectrum team, triumphed in America in its first full-time season in the SCCA-sanctioned F1600 Formula F Championship Series.
Scoring a record eight wins, seven of which were delivered by Drivers Champion Scott Andrews, Michael Duncalfe’s team led the way from the season opener at Road Atlanta in April to the weekend’s finale in Pittsburgh. Andrews, in his rookie season in the United States, triumphed over season rival Skylar Robinson with a final points tally of 723 to the American’s 648.
Scott showed his intent to wrap up the championship early with a record setting lap time to claim pole position for Race 1 on Saturday. A spin on the warm-up lap failed to dent the 24-year-old’s determination as he carved his way through the field having been forced to start last as a result of his pre-race off.
He powered his way back to third at the checkered flag after 16 flat-out laps. His efforts were enough to seal the championship while his team-mate, Canada’s Thomas McGregor, drove an equally stellar race to take fifth.
Saturday’s highs were followed by Sunday’s lows as wet and cold conditions greeted the final day of action for the F1600 field. Race 2 was a dramatic one for both Andrews and McGregor. Scott led a handful of laps having started on the front-row but contact with another car ultimately led to a DNF for the new champion.
McGregor’s luck was similar with the Saskatoon racer finding himself the meat in a three-car sandwich. The ensuing contact saw virtually the whole of the left side of his car ripped off having ended up in the wall along the straightaway.
Neither Andrews nor McGregor would start Race 3 despite heroic efforts from the Exclusive Autosport crew, gratefully aided by some paddock allies. The damage done to McGregor’s car was simply too much to turn around in time while Andrews was able to get to the grid for the out-lap. Sadly for the Australian, he was forced to retire prior to the start due to problems with his left up-right suspension.
In the F2000 Championship Series Exclusive’s rookie, Trent Walko, had a similarly trying weekend mixed with flashes of the pace he’s demonstrated in recent events. The teenager bagged another pair of front-row starts in qualifying, his sixth start on the front-row, mirroring his best efforts from the previous rounds in Pittsburgh and New Jersey Motorsport Park.
He fought for the early lead in Race 1 on Saturday but was forced off at Turn 1 challenging for position with a subsequent issue forcing his retirement. Sunday’s Race 2 again saw Trent showcasing his talents behind the wheel. He held second place through the majority of the 15-lap charge only to be hit from behind and punted out of the race with just a handful of laps remaining.
On reviewing an ultimately successful F1600 campaign but a somewhat frustrating final weekend, Exclusive Autosport Team Principal Michael Duncalfe commented;
“Our goal was simple coming into the weekend. Our only focus was to wrap up the F1600 championship with Scott and we did. The Spectrum package was again fast and Scott proved that with his lap record to grab pole for Race 1. When he took third in the race that was all we needed to become champions. I’m obviously delighted that everyone’s hard work has paid off and that we showed just how competitive the Spectrum chassis is.
“I’m very proud that in our three years of competition as a team, Exclusive Autosport and further, the Spectrum chassis, has now won championships in Canada and the United States. On the team side I really want to thank our engineer John Walko. 2015 was his first with us and he’s been a tremendous asset to the program. I also want to thank Connor Hugo and Mark McGregor for their outstanding work on the wrenches. My thanks also go to Michael and Tracey Borland of Borland Racing Developments for their constant support of our program and for designing an incredible car.
“Finally I just want to thank our drivers, Scott and Thomas in F1600 and of course Trent in F2000. I wish Scott the very best as he travels overseas to compete in the prestigious Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone as the 2015 recipient of the Spectrum International Scholarship. He’ll compete in a Kevin Mills prepared Spectrum and we look forward to following his journey in England.
F1600 Formula F Championship Series - Exclusive Autosport Driver Quotes:
Scott Andrews (@scottandrews44): #94 Exclusive Autosport / Exclusive Management Inc. / Automobility PTY Ltd / Andrews Automotive / Spectrum / Sparco / Honda Racing HPD
Final Championship Position: 1st (723pts)
Race 1 Saturday 17th October – Qualified: 1st / Finished: 3rd
Race 2 Sunday 18th October – Qualified: 2nd / Finished: DNF
Race 3 Sunday 18th October – Qualified: 13th / Finished: DNS
Quote: “Winning the U.S. F1600 Formula F championship with Exclusive Autosport is the highlight of my career to date. I first met Michael Duncalfe eleven months ago in Australia. It’s absolutely amazing that through everyone’s hard work we were able to bring home the first U.S. championship for Exclusive Autosport and another U.S. championship for Spectrum.
“The last quarter of the season, we battled some bad luck. However, the team was resilient and they always gave me a car that I could go out and win with. We finished off the championship with a pole position, track record and another podium. I’d like to sincerely thank all of my supporters, my family, my friends and everyone back home who have helped make my dream become a reality. 2015 has been an incredible season for me. I’m now shifting my focus to representing Spectrum and Exclusive Management Inc. at the Walter Hayes Trophy over in England.”
Thomas McGregor (@TMacRacing): #93 Exclusive Autosport / Exclusive Management Inc. / Dairy Queen / Spectrum / Sparco / Honda Racing HPD
Final Championship Position: 7th (530pts)
Race 1 Saturday 17th October – Qualified: 6th / Finished: 5th
Race 2 Sunday 18th October – Qualified: 6th / Finished: 14th
Race 3 Sunday 18th October – Qualified: 3rd / Finished: DNS
Quote: “Well the weekend certainly started well, I was pleased with another top-five on Saturday and being so close to the guys right at the front. Sunday was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was sandwiched with nowhere to go when the chaos unleashed and next thing I knew I was in the wall. It’s too bad as I was fast and a strong finish was on the cards. Unfortunately the damage we sustained meant we couldn’t get the car back out in time for the final race of the year. It’s too bad and not the finish we all deserved given how much work we’ve put into the season.”
F2000 Championship Series - Exclusive Autosport Driver Quote:
Trent Walko (@twalko91): #91 Exclusive Autosport / Spectrum / Zetec
Final Championship Position: 6th (303pts)
Race 1 Saturday 17th October – Qualified: 2nd / Finished: 18th
Race 2 Sunday 18th October – Qualified: 2nd / Finished: 17th
Quote: “It’s definitely frustrating to finish our season with an abrupt end in both races, especially after we showed again just how quick we could be in qualifying. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my rookie season in F2000 with Exclusive Autosport. The Spectrum package was competitive and scoring my first podiums and front-row starts are undoubtedly the highlight from the year. It’s been a lot of fun, I just wished we’d had slightly better luck here in Pittsburgh to end on more of a high note.”
Formed in 2013, Exclusive Autosport has quickly forged a reputation as one of North America’s premier junior formula outfits. Championship success came quickly under Michael Duncalfe’s leadership with notable achievements including back-to-back driver titles in 2013 and 2014 in the Canadian Toyo Tires F1600 A-Class Championship and in the Quebec Formula Tour 1600 Pro-Class Championship.
Exclusive Management Inc. is the official North American Importer and Distributor for Spectrum Chassis, designed and produced by Borland Racing Developments in Australia.