Watkins Glen, NY – The inaugural season finale for the F1600 Formula F Championship Series is set for a thrilling showdown at Watkins Glen this weekend, with Bill Valet and Tim Kautz going head to head for the Dangerous Cargo Cup. Valet leads the standings over Kautz by 10 points, with 110 up for grabs at Watkins Glen. However, with drops calculated, Kautz jumps to the top of the F1600 standings by 13 points. Meanwhile, 26 other entries will try to play spoiler in what has been an ultra-competitive season.
Who has the edge? When F1600 visited Watkins Glen in June, Valet won on Saturday in the No. 83 Swift/Ford and Kautz took home first place on Sunday. Since then the Championship contenders have matched each other point for point.
“Heading into the Glen we need to win, plain and simple. We have to push 100 percent,” said Valet, who is coming off a win and a DNF at Lime Rock. “If we win, we don't need to worry about Tim.”
Meanwhile, Kautz, in a Piper/Ford, is coming off double DNFs from Lime Rock, and battled through engine problems at the Runoffs.
“The Glen quickly became one of my favorite tracks earlier this year, and we have learned some things since our first visit that should help us,” commented Kautz, who is said to have secured a very strong motor for the weekend.
“Our goal is two strong finishes, and if we have the car to win with, we’ll take them.”
Valet and Kautz may have their work cut out for them as a handful of other racers look to return to victory lane – or grab their first wins of 2011.
Mathematically, Jim Goughary is still alive in the points race, although the Piper/Honda driver and VIR winner needs a miracle. Goughary led laps at Watkins Glen in June and sat on pole at Lime Rock in both races.
“Last time we were at the Glen our gearing was not perfect but this time it will be perfect,” added Goughary. “Also, since this weekend is at Watkins Glen, when they used to have the U.S. Grand Prix, I will be racing under my Italian Formula One alter ego name, Jimmi Googlioni.”
Veteran Art Foster is alive in the battle too, and may figure in at the front of the field in his Van Diemen/Ford, coming off a win at Lime Rock.
Canadian Caitlin Johnston completes her 2011 campaign at Watkins Glen in the No. 68 Van Diemen/Honda. Johnston grabbed two top tens at the Glen in June and has finished every race this year.
Wyatt Gooden is on the entry list for the second time in 2011 in a Van Diemen/Honda for Quantum Racing Services. Gooden swept both races at Mid-Ohio, narrowly edging the Cape Motorsports Spectrum/Honda chassis, which will be piloted by Ryan Leach at Watkins Glen.
Leach is coming off his first career podium at Lime Rock and has called the Australian-built Spectrum the best car he’s ever driven.
Colin Thompson led at Watkins Glen in June too, and was at the front at Lime Rock in the No. 5 Swift/Honda, as he remains in the lead for the coveted Alegra Motorsports F2000 test, awarded at the end of the season to the highest-placing driver in the Championship under 21 years old.
“Lime Rock was certainly my best race so far this year as I was able to grab two podiums and now the gloves are coming off,” said Thompson. “My goal for this weekend is to sit on pole in at least one race and to win one as well. Shooting for a win doesn't mean that I am risking throwing away the Alegra test. In fact, I am pushing at the top of my game so that I may clinch the Alegra test in the first race.”
The action gets started on Friday, October 14, with two practice sessions at 9:40 and 2:10 local time, followed by Saturday morning qualifying for race one at 9:40. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 2:10 on Saturday, and Sunday again features a 9:40 morning qualifying and 2:10 race start prior to the Series awards ceremony. Stay tuned to F1600Series.com for updates.