UK: Team USA Formula Ford Festival preview

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Team USA Scholarship Drivers Ready For Action at the Formula Ford Festival Brands Hatch, England (October 15, 2010) -- After burning up the Brands Hatch "Indy" circuit during testing for the past four days, 2010 Team USA Scholarship drivers ...

Team USA Scholarship Drivers Ready For Action at the Formula Ford Festival

Brands Hatch, England (October 15, 2010) -- After burning up the Brands Hatch "Indy" circuit during testing for the past four days, 2010 Team USA Scholarship drivers Spencer Pigot and Felix Serralles are ready for their first proper action when qualifying for the Formula Ford Festival begins at 9:50 local time tomorrow morning.

Both Pigot, 17, from Windermere, Fla., and Serralles, from Haines City, Fla., have shown a promising turn of speed in their pair of Cliff Dempsey Racing-prepared Ray GRS07/8 Formula Ford cars. Nevertheless, ever-realistic team principal Cliff Dempsey remains under no illusions. He knows full well there will be no shortage of tough competition.

"I'm really happy with the way everything is going," said Dempsey, a former driver himself who along with wife Michelle has established one of the most highly regarded Formula Ford teams. "We're as quick as anybody but we'll see what happens [in qualifying] tomorrow. Anything can happen in this game and I'd much rather speak about them after everything is done, but there's no doubt these two boys are as quick as any we've ever had. I'm happy with what I see and the way it's going; we're certainly on the pace."

Pigot has been setting fast times ever since testing started on Tuesday, regularly circulating around the 50-second mark and sometimes a little bit quicker -- unofficially as fast as anyone has gone this year in a Formula Ford car -- while Serralles has been snapping at his heels. Both youngsters expect to be running up toward the front this weekend and have high hopes of emulating fellow Team USA Scholarship winner Josef Newgarden, who in 2008 because the first American driver ever to win a Formula Ford Festival title.

"Testing the last few days has been great," said Pigot, winner of this year's BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda title in the United States. "I've had a lot of fun and the guys at Cliff Dempsey Racing have been awesome. We've got the car handling beautifully and I'm really looking forward to qualifying tomorrow because I'm very confident of being right at the front."

"The testing has been very productive and helpful for me," added Serralles, who is also a product of the MAZDASPEED Driver Development program. "Every time that I have been out in practice, I just keep learning more and more about the car and the track. My favorite corner by far is Paddock Hill. To me it sort of looks like Road Atlanta Turn One, but in the opposite direction!

"I'm feeling very comfortable with the car and I think we can do well."

The field of almost 50 cars has been divided into two Heat races which will determine the starting positions for another pair of Semi Final races on Sunday morning. Both Team USA drivers have been drawn in the same Heat Two race, which will start tomorrow at 2:25 pm local time.

The top 14 finishers from each Semi Final will qualify for the Grand Final on Sunday afternoon, along with the top-four finishers from the Last Chance Race.

The Team USA Scholarship has been helping young American drivers since 1990. Past winners include Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Tony Ave, Buddy Rice, Paul Edwards, Andy Lally, Joey Hand, Phil Giebler, A.J. Allmendinger, Bryan Sellers, J.R. Hildebrand, Dane Cameron, Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly. The program is supported by Doug Mockett & Company, Road Racing Drivers Club, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Walldinger Racing, Robo-Pong, Highcroft Racing, "The Road to Indy," Mazda, Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, Silicon Salvage, McMurry Inc., Dyson Racing, The Gorsline Company, Integrated Performance Technology, Robertson Racing, PitFit Training, Sparco USA, Buttonwillow Raceway Park, OnCars.com, eFormulaCarNews.com, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic, Manifest Group and numerous past Scholarship winners.

-source: team usa scholarship/js

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