Rookie Kyle Connery didn’t waste much time in having to learn Watkins Glen International, going to the top of the time sheets in the closing stages of the first practice session of the day. But at the end of Thursday it was Chris Livengood who set the fastest time of the test day in the #37 Van Diemen, under the existing track record.
Connery is coming off two wins at Road Atlanta, and was followed on the first session time sheets by Tim Minor, Robert La Rocca, Chris Livengood and Remy Audette. Connery’s time was a 1:53.981.
A few hours later, Livengood wheeled the #37 to a 1:52.9, under the existing track record of 1:53.015. Livengood sat on pole at the Glen in 2010 but surrendered a late-race lead, later notching his first win of the season at Mid-Ohio for John Walko Racing.
Championship points leader Audette, from Canada, was second quickest, followed by La Rocca, Minor and Niki Coello, who is making his first F2000 Championship Series appearance since 2008, when he won at Road America. Coello, like La Rocca, is in a RFR chassis.
Alegra’s Test Announcement
Alegra Motorsports will be offering a complimentary full-day test to the highest placing driver in the F1600 Formula F Championship Series at the end of the season, aged 21 or younger.
Alegra will provide the opportunity for an aspiring driver to test a Van Diemen under the lights at Palm Beach International Raceway this fall.
“We believe the F2000 Championship Series is the premier training series in North America for aspiring young drivers and we want to give a deserving driver the chance to experience a competitive F2000 car” said Andy Greene, Alegra’s team manager.
The Miami-based squad, 2007 Daytona 24 hour GT class winner, also runs cars in the Trans-Am Series, various Grand-Am Daytona Prototype events and vintage races.
Offering the complimentary test, Alegra helps smooth the transition for a deserving and aspiring race car driver from F1600 to the more advanced F2000 cars.
Starter issues plagued Fabio Orsolon’s #24 Alegra Motorsports RFR Thursday morning. | Ethan Ringel finally got some laps stringed together after mechanical issues at Road Atlanta. | Tim Minor may be holding his cards for later in the weekend – the Masters Class driver has made it no secret that he is here to win. | Tim Paul had a radiator line break, limiting his track time, but ran solidly near the top-ten early in the day. | Jonathan Scarallo got five laps in for his Primus Racing Van Diemen before an input shaft sent him back to the paddock until further notice. | An amusing typo on the official Watkins Glen schedule sheet gives F2000 12 hours of track time on Saturday. | Brian Tomasi and Rob Nicholas will withdraw from the rest of the weekend following engine failures.
Mid-Ohio: Honda Lunch and Sponsor Class
Honda Performance Development will be hosting a lunch for all F1600 Formula F Championship Series and F2000 Championship Series participants at Mid-Ohio during the July race weekend.
Additionally, Honda will organize a sponsor seminar, helping guide drivers and teams along the path to land marketing partners.
Fan Photo Contest
Fat Boy Racing has made its long-expected full return to the field, with Charles Finelli in his #83 Van Diemen partnering Brendan Puderbach in a new RFR. Both drivers are under the John Walko Racing tent.
The team is sponsoring a new fan-photo contest. Log onto www.fanphotocontest.com for more details on winning a ride in the pace car at another F2000 Championship Series event.
HP-Tech rolled off the trailer at Watkins Glen posting the third quickest time in morning testing with Robert La Rocca in the #10 RFR.
Meanwhile, Enzo Potolicchio will partner La Rocca in the sister-car, doing double-duty as the veteran driver also races a Daytona Prototype in the six-hour Grand-Am race this weekend.
HP-Tech pointed out new RFR end-plates on its front wings, and said there were other updates to the car.
Morcom’s Four-Week Break
Australian rookie Nathan Morcom flew home to Australia during the month between Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen, and took home some hardware in a touring car race during the break.
Morcom won the first round of the Australian Production Car Endurance Championship, a six hour race at Phillip Island.
Nathan co-drove a Direct Plasterboard Outlet/Eastern Creek Karts BMW 335i in the race with his father, Barry, and Garry Holt.
Nathan, who clocked the fastest race lap of the three drivers, said track conditions made the high-speed 4.5km Phillip Island circuit even more demanding than usual.
“It didn’t rain but the track was very slippery, so I had to concentrate on being consistent as well as quick.
“One small slip-up on any of the fast corners and the race would have been over for all three of us.
“The only worry was when a tire started delaminating with a few laps to go – there was a massive vibration through the steering – but luckily it held together until the end.”
Driving a Rondo Van Diemen for Ohio-based Primus Racing, he’s looking for top-three results this weekend at the Glen.
A driving error and car problems at Road Atlanta yielded only a fifth place and a non-finish.
“I need a strong weekend at Watkins Glen to make up for Road Atlanta,” Morcom said.
“I didn’t make the most of qualifying for the first race, but a bigger problem was that while we were trying get the handling right we didn’t notice that the engine was losing power.”