Lee to Tackle Italian Formula 3 in 2010
SYOSSET, N.Y., Dec. 10 - Following an excellent two-day test at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in France, American Matt Lee announced today that he will compete in the Italian Formula 3 series in 2010.
The 20-year-old from Syosset, N.Y. will attempt to become the first American to ever win this championship, which has produced stars such as Formula 1's Riccardo Patrese and Giancarlo Fisichella and the Rolex series' Max Angelelli.
Lee, who finished second in the Formula BMW USA series in 2006 before advancing to Atlantics, has signed with Alan Racing based in Cologno Monzese, Italy for 2010. The team finished third in this year's championship with Pablo Sanchez Lopez.
Although the 2010 Italian Formula 3 schedule has not yet been released, this year the series was contested at Adria, Magione, Mugello, Misano, Varano, Imola, Vallelunga and Monza.
Lee drove one of Alan Racing's Mygales at the test.
"The weather wasn't the greatest, as it rained both days," he related. "I enjoyed it a lot though. I was traveling with my manager, Eric Scalvi, and my coach, Christian Boudon. Overall the test went very well. Despite not racing since an Atlantic race at Lime Rock in July, I was up to speed quickly and I felt comfortable. The engineer and I made a few changes to improve the car, but overall it was great from the beginning."
While Lee is looking forward to the challenges ahead in the new year, he will also always remember an exciting event he competed in recently, the SKUSA Superkarts USA Supernationals held recently at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.
"It was the most competitive go-kart race I have ever been in or seen, and I will never forget it," said Lee of the event, which attracted stars such as Formula 1's Michael Schumacher, Sebastien Buemi and Nelson Piquet Jr., IndyCar's Raphael Matos, many top competitors from the European World Championships and many other big names.
"I hadn't been in a go-kart since last January when I raced in the Florida Winter Tour at Homestead, Fla.," said Lee, who drove a CRG kart with a Maxter engine fielded by PSL Karting. "We started the weekend with a little trouble in the first practice with an engine failure, and in the second practice we were breaking in the new engine. That didn't get our heads down though, because we knew that the only thing we were working for was a good finish in the final.
"For the heat races I started 29th, two spots behind Michael Schumacher. I finished 21st in the first heat; I was 23rd in the second heat and I was 21st in heat three. I was able to finish all of the heats without any mechanical problems or crashes.
"A few laps into the final I hit one of the temporary barriers that had been moved from another driver hitting it earlier. That bent my steering shaft, but despite dealing with that for the rest of the race I was able to continue to race and still fight for position on the track.
"I ended up 20th in the final, but it was an accomplishment to just be able to finish these races without crashing out," he noted. "In the final, only 23 finished out of 44 competitors."
-credit: matt lee