Thursday Testing Notebook
Alegra’s New RFR
One of the worst kept secrets in the F2000 paddock, the #24 Alegra Motorsprots RFR/Zetec, officially turned some of its first laps today with Brazilian Fabio Orsolon behind the wheel.
“Alegra worked very hard to put the new car together for this race and I am really thankful for their work and for the opportunity to drive the new car,” said Orsolon, making his first start since Mid-Ohio in 2010.
Orsolon drove the full season for Alegra in 2009 and came back for a sophomore season in which the team won the title last year.
Orsolon will lend some veteran guidance to Alegra’s two rookies, Gustavo Rizzo and Angel Benetiz, both in the Van Diemen chassis.
“We didn’t really have time to test the new car, so the biggest challenge will be to get it developed enough so we can be fast after just a couple of testing sessions,” Orsolon continued.
Team officials said they were confident in the RFRs ability to run near the top of the time sheets.
Devin Jones Tests for AcceleRace
Aspiring American driver Devin Jones used Thursday’s track time to complete a testing program for AcceleRace Motorsports. The 16-year old, from Mooresville, North Carolina, is driving in the Skip Barber National Series this season, and also contesting various Super Late Model events.
“The F2000 car is a lot more pro to drive than the Skip Barber car. Everything is more precise,” commented Jones, who has raced at Road Atlanta in a Skip Barber regional event before.
Another change for the weekend at Road Atlanta will be at HP-Tech Motorsports as Giancarlo Potolicchio steps aside (for just this event) for his father, Enzo, in the #22 RFR/Zetec. Enzo Potolicchio is contesting the full Grand-Am season in a Daytona Prototype.
Schweitz in the Piper
A newcomer to the F2000 paddock, but not the SCCA scene, Tom Schweitz has entered a Piper/Zetec for this weekend’s Road Atlanta event.
According to a fellow competitor: “Schweitz has the capability to take a couple of kids to the woodshed, not to mention finish in the top five.”
The veteran has a long history of open-wheel victories in everything from Formula V to Formula F and F2000.
Puderbach’s New RFR
After taking a hiatus in 2009, and contesting one race for Fat Boy Racing in 2010, Brendan Puderbach is back for the rest of the season in a brand new RFR chassis fielded by John Walko Racing.
“Our plan for this weekend is to shake out the new car and to start figuring out how to make it, and myself, go quickly,” said Puderbach. “However my main goal is just to have some fun running at one of the best tracks in the country in the hottest newest F2000 car that's currently available.”
“On a personal note, after two years on the sidelines it will be damn good to see and compete with all my old racing buddies again.
“John Fitch called racing ‘a disease,’ he was right, it most certainly is. And after a long and frightfully boring remission I'm damn glad to say I'm once again terminally afflicted,” Puderbach continued. The paddock can expect to see the rest of Fat Boy Racing make its triumphant and official return at Watkins Glen June 3-5.
RFR Build Contest
Both Alegra Motorsports and John Walko Racing took delivery of the RFR chassis right after VIR, on the week of April 10.
Just a few weeks later, both shops were able to complete the build while overseeing various other racing programs.
The nod, however, will have to go to Alegra which found time to vinyl wrap the entire car in the team’s Vitalz colors.
It should be noted after years of doubters complaining about new-car availability, there are suddenly six new RFRs in the paddock (with more on their way), a Piper, a Citation, and a flock of Radons that should be rolling by the end of the year.
Audette’s Transportation Strategy
Audette Racing undoubtedly had a long drive from Quebec to VIR, back to Quebec, and then to Road Atlanta, and back to Quebec.
Not so fast, the Canadian team thought ahead, staying an additional day after their dominating performance at VIR to prep the car for Road Atlanta in a VIR-paddock garage.
From there, it was loaded onto the #21 hauler, and left in a F2000-friendly facility in Maryland to be picked up earlier this week as the team drove a street car down from north of the border.