NEW YORK, NY (24 July 2003) -- At the famed Lowe's Motor Speedway, the Red Bull Driver Search program produced 3 more winners. Alex Speed of Manteca, CA, Travis Firing of Cherryville, NC, and John Johnson of Marshalltown, IA. Charlotte's typical...
NEW YORK, NY (24 July 2003) -- At the famed Lowe's Motor Speedway, the Red Bull Driver Search program produced 3 more winners. Alex Speed of Manteca, CA, Travis Firing of Cherryville, NC, and John Johnson of Marshalltown, IA. Charlotte's typical summer stormy weather didn't hamper the racing efforts of these three young racers determined to advance in the program.
Competing in Rotax JR Fr-125 go-karts, with purpose built CRG racing kart chassis, 20 American racing hopefuls vigorously contested for one of three spots in the Semi Final Event. These young racers had everything to prove, with Danny Sullivan, head of the program, keeping a close eye on proceedings and a chance at a Red Bull racing sponsorship in their midst.
Practice sessions in the morning allowed the drivers to acclimatize to the karts and the track. Unsettled weather brought about a series of tire changes. Qualifying sessions followed, which determined grid positions for the heats. After a long day of intense wet and dry race conditions, the podium finishers secured their place in the Semi Final, in Sebring, Florida on September 3-5.
Sullivan was duly impressed with the level of determination, maturity and composure of these young drivers, who seemed undaunted by the presence of prestigious media and local race team directors.
"Today was a great opportunity for all of the participants to learn what it takes to be prepared for changing weather conditions. All of the drivers experienced the track on both slick and wet tires and they were required to adjust their handling of the kart appropriately. Considering the diverse levels of racing experience of the 20 young drivers, everyone did a tremendous job," commented Sullivan.
Alex Speed, 17, has 7 years go-kart experience in both SKUSA and Stars of Tomorrow. Travis Firing, 19, has 9 years go-kart experience including national championships in the WKA. John Johnson, 17, has 10 years go-kart experience with 5 national championships and 7 track championships in SKUSA.
In Sebring, they will join Tony Loneiwski of Michigan City, IL, Brandon Adkins of Port Washington, OH and Adam Johnson of Marshalltown, IA, who emerged victorious from the first regional event at South Bend Raceway Park last month. A further 6 karters will be selected from two similar outdoor go-kart events taking place in California in August (Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA - August 12; and Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, CA - August 19).
In Sebring, the 12 karters will compete in 2 liter race cars, alongside 12 other racers who will have been chosen by 'expert undercover scouts' from traditional U.S. racing formula. The 24 candidates will be competing for a spot in an elite group of 10, selected to travel to the Final Event.
The Final Event is scheduled to take place in October at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France, where the 10 finalists will be assessed. The chosen winners will earn a seat with a leading team, racing in a European junior-series championship, for 2004.
The 2003 Red Bull Driver Search program aims to discover and support highly talented young drivers already in racing, as well as the "diamond in the rough," lacking the knowledge and contacts needed to embark on a career in racing. The long-term goal is to have a steady group of 4 to 6 American drivers racing in Europe, groomed to break into Formula 1 and compete for the World Championship.