Markus Niemela joins forces with Kierce Racing for the 2010 VRA
VENTURA, CA (January 26, 2010) Kierce Racing is excited to announce the addition of 25-year-old Markus Niemela from Finland to their team. He will drive the #12 360 Sprint Car making him as the only Finnish driver ever to compete in the Sprint Car Series. Although a rookie to Sprint Car racing, Markus brings to the table a multitude of talent having participated in many forms of racing and is one of the up and coming young drivers in the international motorsport scene. He started his racing career in karting at the age of 6, quickly drew attention by winning in junior categories year after year and has continued to win races every single year since 1990. Markus's career can be divided in two parts - before and after an injury in 2001 that very nearly ended his career. During the last 6 years, after recovering from the accident, Markus has won 5 championships out of the 11 he h as completed as a whole.
Despite being hindered by very limited financial resources in the past, Markus has continuously demonstrated his potential. 2007 saw him bring together a strong group of people to support him with the commercial and financial aspects of racing allowing him to focus entirely on driving. This made it possible to step up to the GP2 Series during the 2007 season. Strong performances in GP2 and winning the USA based Champ Car Atlantic championship in 2008 has established his position as the next up and coming Finn in international motorsport.
List of championships Markus has completed "post injury" 2001:
2009, Atlantic Championship (6th)
2008, Champ Car Atlantic (Champion)
2006, Formula Renault UK (7th)
2005, Formula BMW-ADAC (7th)
Formula Renault UK Winter Championship (5th)
2004, Formula Ford Finnish Championship (Champion)
Formula Ford Swedish Championship (Champion)
Formula Ford STCC Championship (Champion)
2003, Karting, Formula A, World Championship (5th)
2002, Karting, Formula A, Finnish Championship (Champion)
Karting, Formula A, European Championship (30th)
"Needless to say I'm over the moon happy for this opportunity to race Sprint Cars this year and first of all a big thanks to the people who have made this possible. 2010 will be a fun year but also a big challenge since I have raced on the road courses for 19 years out of the 25 I have lived. Obviously it's a big change and challenge to start racing dirt ovals where both dirt and ovals are unknown to me, but I appreciate the chance to learn many new things this year as a driver. I have always loved to drift and slide everything from go karts and cars to motorhomes and vans back home in Finland on snow and this might make the adaptation from pavement to dirt slightly easier. My first test at Ventura went quite well and I believe there is good potential but it's too early to talk about goals yet. This will be my busiest year ever when it comes to the number of races because formula cars tend to have fewer races per year. The whole sprint car deal happened so fast that I don't q uite realize it yet, but I'm very excited about it. I did a one day test on new years eve and it went better than I expected and now I'm racing this season in Sprint Cars. I don't have any experience of oval racing so it's good to have chance to learn. These are sick cars and so much fun to drive that I can't wait for the season to start," commented Markus.
"Kiece Racing owner Kevin Kierce (3 time series champion and teamowner of the 2008 series Rookie of the year driver, Justin Kierce) is convinced of the skills of his new driver and believes Markus can win races in his rookie year stating "Everyone at Kierce Racing is very excited knowing that Marcus will make a great addition to our team. Having had the opportunity to work with Marcus in an all day test session we know he will be a threat to win each and every week."