F2000Series.com catches up with 2012 Champion Robert La Rocca on the keys to a successful weekend in Virginia, we talk to the guy driving his car – Roberto Lorena, and also touch base with David Grant on his switch from Atlantics and the planned debut of the Spectrum F2000 chassis.
Robert La Rocca swept VIR away in 2012, winning both races with a surprise switch to the Van Diemen chassis. That marked the start of an epic year for “The Rock.”
What are the keys to the weekend?
“Well, it's the first race of the season, so there is no need to take big risks,” said the F3 driver. “The main thing is to go out and do your job, learn the track and work on the car set-up. It does not matter where you start, you just need to keep improving, and don’t settle. The most important thing is to finish both races. It's a lot better to start your championship campaign with good points, rather than no points. Stay calm, stay focused, and have fun!”
Strapping into La Rocca’s HP-Tech Motorsport 2012 car for 2013 will be 17-year-old Roberto Lorena, making the jump from F1600.
“It has been a very progressive transition. The first time I drove the car was last year, and, so far, after a few more tests, I won't say that I am 100% adapted, but I definitely feel comfortable driving it,” said Lorena, who lives in the U.S. after moving from Brazil in 2011.
“There are a few driving differences when comparing to the F1600, especially going into the corners, but still not as many that would make it too hard for the driver to use it as a next step after the F1600.”
Lorena picked up two SCCA Majors wins in March at Road Atlanta, and two more at the start of the year at Sebring.
“It gives me more confidence going into the first race of the championship, but I know how hard it is to be on front of the F2000 grid, so I tend to keep my feet on the ground,” Lorena added. HP-Tech is spending the weekend with half the team on site at VIR and the rest in Interlagos, Brazil for the Ferrari Challenge event.
After dominating the 2012 Atlantic Championship Series, David Grant has opted to compete in F2000 with Polestar.
Starting originally in Spec Racer Ford, Grant then went to Formula Enterprise and then to Atlantic, and now finds himself in a Van Diemen (with a very cool wrap job) to start the season.
“The transition is going relatively well. It's more of just getting comfortable with the limits of a new car after being in an Atlantic for six years,” said Grant, from Germantown, TN. “The Atlantic car is more predictable, yet when you lose the handling … it is usually a bigger loss. The F2000 car seems to be more forgiving.”
Grant explained that he had been maintaining his own car for the past 13 years, and now with four kids (all under the age of eight), he doesn’t have the time.
“I sold my Atlantic in December and I’m excited about having Jim Griffith and Polestar team maintain and supply engineering support for the F2000 program.”
While he starts the season in a Van Diemen, Grant has ordered the new Spectrum F2000 chassis and plans to make the switch during the summer.