NA-F2000: Kimball completes test in New Zealand

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (January 5, 2004) - Former Formula Ford Zetec Championship driver Charlie Kimball has recently concluded several days of testing for the upcoming New Zealand International Formula Ford Series. Kimball, along with fellow...

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (January 5, 2004) - Former Formula Ford Zetec Championship driver Charlie Kimball has recently concluded several days of testing for the upcoming New Zealand International Formula Ford Series.

Kimball, along with fellow Team USA drivers Joe D'Agostino and Ryan Millen, tested at Ruapuna Park Raceway and Levels Raceway. Driving a Stealth/Van Diemen Ford, Kimball had a successful test at both tracks.

In less than ideal warm conditions, Kimball did numerous laps on 2.14-mile Ruapuna road course, posting very competitive times. At the 1.49-mile Levels Raceway, Kimball battled very hot temperatures, to post times quicker than several local drivers also testing at the track.

"It took me a little time to reacclimate myself with a carbureted engine," said Kimball, who finished third in this year's Formula Ford Zetec Championship. "It has a big flat spot compared to the fuel-injected motors I'm used to, but I'm getting there. I'm starting to understand what the car needs."

The six race Talley's New Zealand International Formula Ford Series commences January 11, with the first two races at Levels Raceway in Timaru on New Zealand's South Island. Rounds Three and Four of the series will take place at Invercargill's Teretonga Park Raceway on January 18. The series-finale doubleheader will take place January 25, at Ruapuna Park Raceway.

Kimball becomes the Eighth Zetec Championship driver to win the Team USA scholarship, following in the footsteps of Clay Collier, Mike Borkowski, Memo Gidley, Matt Sielsky, Buddy Rice, Andy Lally and Sellers. The last time Team USA contested the series in 2002, former Zetec Championship Champion Bryan Sellers finished second, winning two races.

Begun in 1990, the Team USA Scholarship was created to assist aspiring up and coming American drivers. By establishing contacts in the racing industry, meeting various team, chassis and engine representatives, and contesting winter series championships, past winners have benefited extensively from this program and moved up the racing ladder.

Widely regarded as North America's premier open-wheel training series, the Formula Ford Zetec Championship, part of the Cooper Tires Championship Series, offers a complete motorsports education, with emphasis on cost-effective racing. All the Zetec Championship cars are powered by the technically advanced 2.0-liter Ford Focus power plant and run on spec Cooper Zeon UHP tires. The 2004 schedule will be announced shortly and will feature 15 races on North America's premier race tracks.

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