Braselton, GA – Prior to the season opening rounds for F1600, F2000 and Atlantic at Road Atlanta this weekend, the three Formula Race Promotions operated open-wheel series enjoyed a full and extensive test-day at the 12-turn road course. With loads of track time on hand, teams and drivers were able to enjoy near perfect weather conditions in Georgia, with little cloud cover and temperatures in the sixties.
The morning got started with F1600 Formula F Championship Series cars rolling, well over 20 of them in total, representing a significant surge in the Series’ entrant base year-over-year. The Formula F field is highlighted by a five-car effort from Canada’s Exclusive Autosport, with Spectrum/Hondas, along with four Mygale/Hondas from Team Pelfrey.
Pelfrey expanded to four cars for the season with the late addition of Colombian racer Esteban Garzon, a former Skip Barber Series entrant, in the No. 80. He joins Norway’s Ayla Agren and a pair of Americans in Augie Lerch and Garth Rickards.
While Pelfrey’s cars sport a unique yellow and black scheme, Raceworks unloaded with two even-more-unique green and orange Spectrums for Brandon Angel and Franklin Futrelle.
Chastain Motorsports unloaded a single Mygale/Honda for Sam Chastain, who is fielding the No. 27 entry this weekend, with a throw-back paint scheme similar to the team’s former Indy 500 entries.
Elsewhere down the F1600 grid, 15-year-old Max Mallinen continued to get acclimated to his Swan Motorsports Spectrum/Honda, estimating he had just been in the car a handful of times.
F2000’s grid-size remains large for 2014, highlighted by an even deeper field and the arrival of a sleek-looking new F2000-spec Spectrum chassis, of which there are two in the field. Thomas McGregor is in the No. 93 Spectrum for Exclusive Autosport while David Grant is in the No. 29 for Polestar.
Both those men were turning some quick laps according to unofficial stopwatches on the pit wall. Reigning Series Champion Tim Minor looked quick as well, in addition to rookie Skylar Robinson, in a similar chassis and who is expected to be very fast. Mixing it up with that pair during morning laps was Tim Paul, in the No. 06 CellMark Paper-backed SMR entry for GTP Motorsports.
Series race winner Wyatt Gooden was back in the paddock, coaching Jim Libecco, in a recently-painted bright-green No. 98 Van Diemen. In addition, Al Guibord turned a number of laps in a brand new Radon chassis on Thursday morning.
The debut of the 2014 Atlantic Championship Series this weekend at Road Atlanta saw some 15 Atlantic cars turn in laps during the day, led by a five-car program from Pennsylvania-based K-Hill Motorsports.
2012 Series runner-up Keith Grant is an early favorite at Road Atlanta, but has traded his green/blue Swift 014/Toyota for a black and yellow Swift 016/Mazda.
Four aspiring racers are in the field as well, and making their pro Atlantic debuts. Jimmy Simpson joins Atlantic Creations in the No. 27, as Ethan Ringel straps in for Pabst Racing/COMPREP, and Conner Kearby joins his father, Gaston, in a Swift 016/Mazda, at K-Hill, alongside 19-year-old Canadian Daniel Burkett.
Official practice starts on Friday for all three series, followed by qualifying and race sessions on both Saturday and Sunday for the opening weekends for the F1600, F2000 and Atlantic Championship Series.