Birmingham round two preview

Montreal, Canada, May 14, 2003 -- The stunning new Barber Motorsport Park will welcome the competitors of the Fran-Am Sport North American Pro Championship this weekend for Round 2 of the 2003 series. The new motor sport facility is located near...

Montreal, Canada, May 14, 2003 -- The stunning new Barber Motorsport Park will welcome the competitors of the Fran-Am Sport North American Pro Championship this weekend for Round 2 of the 2003 series. The new motor sport facility is located near Birmingham, Alabama and comprises a world-class, daunting 2.3-mile road course which has been built to FIA and FIM international standards.

Lopez captured first Fran-Am victory in Phoenix

The inaugural race of the season, held May 3rd on Phoenix International Raceway's road course saw Mexican driver Aurelio Lopez Jr. from Guadalajara score his maiden Fran-Am Pro victory after race leader Juan Martin Ponte spun while going into Corner 1 on lap 26 of the 31-lap feature. Series' rookie Andrew Ranger from Canada finished second in his first ever car race, beating the experienced British driver Robert Bell.

Lopez, who drives for the Pierre Phillips Motorsport team has his mind set on winning his second race in succession this weekend in Alabama. The 19-year old Mexican driver has shown impressive maturity in Phoenix and has chances of making it two in a row. Sixteen-year old Canadian rookie Andrew Ranger will also be in the hunt for victory. Ranger, from Roxton Pond, Quebec has competed in the hotly disputed European karting championship for the past two seasons and is capable of handling intense pressure.

Great Britain's Robert Bell, 24, also enjoyed a strong race in Phoenix despite the intense heat and a car that was not handling perfectly. The Team FirstAir driver -- who has won a race of the Fran-Am Pro World Winter Series this past January -- will drive hard to capture victory on the Barber road course. Argentina's Juan Martin Ponte - a two-time winner in the Winter Series - started from pole position in Phoenix and led for most of the race but made a small driving mistake late in the event to eventually cross the line in fourth position. The 17-year old charger from team Eurointernational will seek revenge this weekend.

Two young American drivers showed great promise in Phoenix. Twenty-year old Tim Barber from San Francisco, California -- the reigning U.S. Fran-Am Junior champion -- battled all race long with Fran-Am World Winter Series' champion Charles Hall of Great Britain. Barber finished the race in sixth place. Las Vegas, Nevada resident Dominic Cicero also drove a strong race in Arizona. He qualified 7th but was punted off track on lap 3. Cicero drove hard for the rest of the race, crossing the line in 9th position.

This weekend's, 30-minute Fran-Am Pro race will go green Sunday May 18 at noon.

The Fran-Am Sport Pro North American Championship is a professional formula car developmental racing series designed to hone the driving skills of the up and coming road racers. Each race features a U.S. $28,500 Michelin International supported cash prize fund, with the overall series champion winning a fully paid ride in the Euro Cup Formula Renault V6 series in Europe next year.

The Fran-Am Pro open wheel car features a spec carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, a sealed 2.0-litre/186-horsepower four cylinder engine, front and rear wings, a six-speed sequential gearbox and spec-Michelin Sport slick racing tires.

-fram am-

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Aurelio Lopez , Charles Hall , Tim Barber , Andrew Ranger , Martin Ponte