"Fearless" Franck Perera Makes Guthrie Racing a Solid Four
Franck Perera, the 23 year old native of Montpellier, France, will jump back into action to compete in the Firestone Indy Lights series for the remainder of the 2008 season. Watch out for this young gun to make an immediate impression in the IRL as he has already done so impressively in his career to date.
Perera's astonishing resume stems from deep roots in European open-wheel racing where he won the Italian Formula Renault Championship in 2003 and went on to compete against the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Timo Glock in both the F3 Euro Series (Rookie Champion 2004) and the GP2 Series (Runner-up to Hamilton at Monaco 2006). Franck was also a member of the exclusive Toyota Driver Program and was entrusted with testing Toyota's Formula One car on several occasions.
Going into 2007, Perera decided to move to the U.S. and attack the highly competitive Atlantic Championship. He literally rewrote the record books on his way to the Rookie of the Year title and narrowly missed out on the overall title to series returnee Raphael Matos.
Perera's achievements did not go unnoticed as he secured a ride for the former Champ Car and current IndyCar team Conquest Racing. Franck competed in three races for the team demonstrating his outstanding road course skills by finishing a solid 6th at Long Beach, which was his final race before his sponsor ran into financial trouble and was unable to continue their support of the young Frenchmen. He also proved to be a quick learner after finishing a commendable 14th in his first ever oval race.
Franck will team up at Guthrie Racing with Sean Guthrie, Logan Gomez and Mickey Gilbert for the rest of the 2008 season.
"I'm just excited to be back in the driver's seat," Perera said. "I'm very thankful to Guthrie Racing and my management company CJ Motorsport and I am going to do the best I can for the team."
Starting at the seventh race into the season, Perera is not worried about the Drivers Championship, but rather building oval experience and fighting for podiums and wins.
"I'm not really focusing on the Title at this stage. I'm just looking at it race by race so I will not be holding back at any of the races! I hope to get some wins on the road courses since that's where my experience lies, but I plan on being right up there in the front on ovals as well after I get some more practice."
Gaining oval experience is a must for drivers looking to compete at the top level of US open- wheel racing with half of the races occurring on these tracks. Having only driven one oval in his career at Homestead-Miami earlier this year, he hopes to continue learning the unique driving style that ovals require, which is where his teammates may prove to be invaluable.
"I have a lot to learn," Perera exclaimed about oval courses. "Sean and Logan are great on ovals so I know they can teach me some techniques and hopefully I can help them on road courses in return. I think together we can make it beneficial for all of us so we can improve all season long."
Perera will join Guthrie Racing at Iowa next week for his first race in the series. The team will participate in the open test at the track on June 10th giving Perera a chance to work with the team and the car before getting into the thick of the action of the Firestone Indy Lights series.
"It always takes a little time to get used to the way a new team operates, but it's great that we get the chance to test first so I can familiarize myself with the crew, my teammates and my new car. After that, I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings!"
Team owner, Jim Guthrie, is honored to run such a high-performing driver like Franck Perera.
"It's great to have the opportunity to work with a driver of Franck's caliber. I have high hopes for Franck and the Guthrie Racing team. One of our Engineers, John Martin, has worked with Franck and is really excited about having him on our team. I expect once Franck gets comfortable on the ovals he will contend for many wins."
Teammates Logan and Sean are also thrilled to have Perera on board as they feel they can all work together to make the team a force to be reckoned with.
"His tremendous road course experience should bring valuable info to the team and us as drivers," Sean suggested. "He is very committed to his racing career and not afraid to take a step back to continue his path to success. People with that attitude are good for the team, the sport and are fun to be around. I know he needs some oval experience and we are happy to give him that. Hopefully we can work together to bring each other even more success."
"Franck has had a very successful racing career and I know he will continue to prosper in our series," Gomez said. "His logical thinking in breaking down a car's performance will help each of us find that ideal setup so we all can battle up front for the win. Working with Franck is going to be a great experience for everyone on the team."