F2000 from a Rookie’s Perspective
Great Falls, VA – Kevin Kopp, driver and engineer of the WISKO Race Engineering No. 66 Van Diemen, started his rookie season in the F2000 Championship Series with a bang at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), capturing two fourth place finishes out of a field of 33 cars. VIR marked not only the beginning to Kopp’s Rookie season of F2000, but also his entry into open wheel racing.
Kopp has been racing since the age of nine, starting with go karts and moving to Spec Miata and then the Playboy MX-5 Cup.
“Coming from a karting background, it’s a natural evolution into open wheel racing,” stated Kopp.
“I chose to start my open wheel career in the F2000 Championship series for many reasons,” Kopp explained. “From a driver’s view point, the level competition in this series is incredibly strong. I always want to be racing in larger fields filled with good drivers. The more competition there is, the harder you have to push yourself and the more you learn, which also partly what makes F2000 such a great development series and stepping stone to other things.”
Kevin is currently a mechanical engineering student at Virginia Commonwealth University, and is an ASE certified technician, as well as a race car fabricator. His engineering and technical background help make the F2000 Championship Series his choice for open wheel racing as well.
“The cars are just awesome. Compared to sports cars they are fairly simple, it is basically just an engine strapped to your seat with suspension. There is no ABS, traction control, or limp mode to deal with. There are so many independent variables that can be changed and have an effect on the performance of the car, which I love. Working with these cars is an engineer’s dream,” Kopp added.
The series is made up of seven race weekends, all being doubles for 14 races. For some this can be daunting, but for Kopp it’s a great aspect of the series.
“It always allows you to turn what could be a bad weekend, into a good one. At Lime Rock I had some technical difficulties with the car that were not able to be fixed prior to qualifying, causing me to start from the back for race one of the weekend. This was not an ideal situation for me or the WISKO team, and my goal for the first race was just to get in a good time to qualify better for the following race. By the end of the weekend I had finished top in the top five and was leading in hard charger points.”
Kopp found his first podium at New Jersery Motorsports Park, during what was probably one of the most trying races for all teams due to extreme heat, intense thunderstorms, and a lack of electricity. This race was the first time the WIKSO Race Engineering time brought more than one car.
“The temperatures during the weekend led to lots of set-up changes. It was great having two other cars and drivers there to help try different set-ups and lines and figure out the best way to make my car survive the heat, and finish strong,” explained Kopp.
Currently, Kopp sits fourth in the Championship points standings, going into the last race weekend of the season at Watkins Glen in mid-October. Due to age restrictions for drivers at this track, this will be the first time Kopp will be able to drive it.
“I’m looking forward to the race at the Glen. I’ve spectated there twice and can’t wait to race there,”said Kopp.
He is hoping to be able to pull out an overall third place finish in the F2000 Championship Series for his rookie year.
“I’ve had a very consistent season, finishing continuously in the top 10, and frequently in the top five, which is a hard thing to do. I think it will be a challenge to pull off third overall in the Championship based on the competition level of the other drivers, but it is something I think I can pull off,” Kopp noted.