RACE: Hinchliffe FF race news 2004-03-23

Hinchcliffe Podiums and Wins in Formula Ford "James Hinchcliffe fairs well in SCCA events" TORONTO, ON. (March 21, 2004) 17 year-old karting champion and Formula BMW scholarship winner James Hinchcliffe competed in two separate SCCA events...

Hinchcliffe Podiums and Wins in Formula Ford
"James Hinchcliffe fairs well in SCCA events"

TORONTO, ON. (March 21, 2004) 17 year-old karting champion and Formula BMW scholarship winner James Hinchcliffe competed in two separate SCCA events over the past two weekends, coming home with three podium results including a victory at Virginia International Raceway (VIR).

Hinchcliffe traveled South from his Oakville, ON residence to compete at Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah, GA over the March 12-14 weekend. Under the AIM Autosport tent, the winning team of the 2003 Fran-Am North American Championship, and teamed with fellow Canadian Dan Burchill, the team engineers and drivers used both race weekends as a test for the Canadian Formula Ford Championship that gets underway later on in the year.

The talented Hinchcliffe managed to impress in his Ford debut scoring a podium finish in his first ever event. After qualifying 5th in class and 8th overall in the open wheel formula classes, James set fast and consistent race laps while battling with other Formula Fords on track. Crossing the finish line in 3rd place was an accomplishment for Hinchcliffe, but the Canadian driver felt that he would definitely do better the following weekend.

"The car was great and we had an awesome test session," explained Hinchcliffe in a phone interview from the track. "I gained some much needed experience and will use that to try and push for a good result next weekend."

After a successful Roebling Road weekend, the AIM crew went back to work on the cars making some bodywork changes to improve the aerodynamic efficiency. James worked hard with the team during the days at the track and focused on his school work in the evenings as this trek would leave the 12th grade student away from the class room for eight days.

With the Hinchcliffe's new found confidence in the team and his car, he set forth to do the best job possible at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) over the March 19-21 weekend. Hinchcliffe hit the technical circuit with a qualifying time of 2:05.3 which put him on the pole nearly 1.2 seconds faster then teammate Dan Burchill in 2nd position.

"This was my best lap of the weekend so far," explained an excited Hinchcliffe. "But the team and my engineers say that we could get into the 2:04's if I put a clean lap together. They have told me to put my head down and really go for the fast race lap."

The Oakville Trafalgar High School student who is widely considered one of Canada's up and coming racecar stars got the jump on the start and never looked back leading the entire race flag-to-flag. An accomplishment in itself, James stepped onto the top step of the podium with not only the race win, but a new fast time of 2:04.66.

"I encountered traffic in the middle portion of the race and was unable to turn the quick laps I needed to do. Then on the final lap I had a gap and went for it. I told my crew that I was going to be in the 204's or the car was coming back on the hook. I really want to thank the AIM Autosport team for a great two weeks. I have learned so much and it is easy to see why they are successful in every formula they run. These guys are professional and I would like to say an extra thank you to all the guys, Keith, Steve, Yancy, Mark and Dan. They made me feel right at home. I would also like to thank my family and friends for all of their continued support."

-www.jameshinchcliffe.com

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Dan Burchill , James Hinchcliffe