Pigot, Serralles Arrive in England, Begin Testing for the Formula Ford Festival
Brands Hatch, England (October 12, 2010) -- American teenagers Spencer Pigot and Felix Serralles today completed their first day of testing with Cliff Dempsey Racing. The pair will make their overseas racing debuts in this weekend's famed Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.
Both drivers completed almost 200 laps on the short but challenging 1.2-mile "Indy" circuit during a sparsely attended open session which offered an excellent opportunity to learn about the track and their Ray GRS08 Formula Ford Kent-engined cars. Ideal weather conditions also proved conducive to competitive lap times.
"I'm delighted with them, although to be honest it's what I expected," said team owner Cliff Dempsey, who guided Josef Newgarden to Formula Ford (Kent) Festival honors in 2008 and claimed Walter Hayes Trophy honors at Silverstone with fellow Team USA Scholarship drivers Conor Daly and Connor De Phillippi in 2008 and 2009, respectively. "I love running these Team USA Scholarship guys. They're superb young men, in and out of the car, and it's truly a pleasure, a privilege, to be running them.
"They were on the pace right away, which didn't surprise me. They're very professional, especially for being so young. It's very easy to get caught up in the lap times, which were good, but there weren't any other fast guys out there today so we'll have to wait to see what the opposition's going to be like."
A total of 49 Kent-engined Formula Ford cars are entered this weekend, comprising drivers from all around Europe as well as one highly rated youngster from Australia. Testing will continue throughout the week.
After arriving in England early on Sunday and immediately enjoying a taste of European-style racing by attending the final round of the hotly contested British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch, today offered the first chance for Pigot and Serralles to get behind the wheel.
"So far the trip has been fantastic," said Pigot, 17, from Windermere, Fla., who last weekend clinched the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda championship at Road Atlanta. "We got to see the final rounds of the British Touring Car Championship which was really cool and gave us a chance to see the track up close.
"We started testing today and it went very well, we were both fast. Everyone at Cliff Dempsey Racing has been great. The first few times through Paddock Hill Bend were a bit intimidating but I got used to it after three or four laps. Brands Hatch is a great circuit and is already one of my favorites!"
Serralles was equally upbeat after gaining his first experience of a Formula Ford 1600 car.
"It has always been a dream to come to Europe for racing, and to get the opportunity to do it with the Team USA Scholarship is an even greater honor," said Serralles, 18, from Haines City, Fla. "My first day testing was a blast! The track is amazing; it is very short and fast. I can't wait to keep testing in the next couple of days and try to battle for the win on Saturday and Sunday!"
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