ZAT Racing brings a family affair to Formula Ford Zetec Cooper Championship Series
March 29, 2005 Sheridan, Illinois - While Mandy (age 8) and Reagan (age 5) are still in the initiation stage of their pit stop crew training regimen, this fact never seems to dampen their spirits to help mom and dad be the best they can be in racing. Their parents, Chuck and Jacqui Lessick, are proud to bring the girls to every race. They love to clean the car, perform various other tasks and make this a true racing family.
At 38, Chuck Lessick looks back at the start of his families racing career. He started driving his Toyota MR2 competitively in 1987 by competing in SCCA's Solo 2 program. His maneuvering around traffic cones in a Chicago parking lot led to moving up to the Midwestern Council of Sports Car Clubs on-track high speed autocross program. Wanting to get involved in wheel to wheel competition in 1998, Chuck and Jacqui bought their first Formula Continental (1988 Van Diemen). They began racing MCSCC races and quickly became competitive and won their first championship. In 2001 they began racing SCCA regional races, and became the CenDiv area 5 FC Champion and the Cen Div Regional FC Champion in 2002. Chuck began National racing in 2004, and finished 8th in the Central Division earning an invitation to the SCCA Runoffs.
Jacqui Lessick is the team's Operations Manager and public relations person. She is extremely active in the team's operations, handling most of the contacts for parts and supplies that are needed to keep the car at the track each event. When she isn't doing these tasks, Jacqui is active in the search for sponsors.
ZAT Racing is a self supported team. To keep expenses as low as possible Chuck does all the mechanical work on the car himself. With all this work to do you can see the two daughters are a valuable addition to the team. They are fortunate to have a great relationship with Bruce Lindstrand of LMI. Lindstrand is a professional race engineer and has proven to be an invaluable asset to ZAT Racing. The ZAT racing machine is presently being built at the LMI facilities.
What is most important says Chuck is. "We will keep our emphasis on family fun at the track, and give every race our best efforts and hope to finish well. We plan on competing in every race on the schedule."
Why did they decide to get involved in this class of racing? "We talked to a lot of people before deciding to make the jump to the Cooper Championship Series. Everyone we talked to said what a great atmosphere it was. The affordability of this class is what attracted us. After selling all our FC stuff we were able to be in the 05 Zetec for about the price of a new motor. We believe that over the next few years, the current rules package will show that running the Formula Ford Zetec Series is very comparable to running the FC at a national level but without all the benefit of running the pro series."