Mike Hill Joins JWR for the Star Mazda Winter Series
TRAFFORD, PA (November 9, 2007) -- John Walko Racing has added the 2007-2008 Star Mazda Winter Series presented by Standing Start to their busy calendar.
The team will contest all six rounds of the series beginning with two races at Buttonwillow Raceway Park over a double-race weekend from November 16-18. Following Buttonwillow will be double race weekends at both Firebird and Phoenix International Raceway in December and January respectively.
For John Walko this opportunity is much more than just a way to complete the schedule, it is the ideal way to keep his talented staff both busy and sharp in the off season.
"I'm excited to be going out there. The Winter Series does fill a gap in the schedule, rather than rebuilding race cars that are already fully prepped to stay busy. More importantly though, we are able to actually practice in a race environment rather than private testing. Quite often in private testing you can think your quick but without others to compare to you don't have a true representation"
The Winter Series not only allows the team members to stay sharp and continue their efforts to build a better race package, it allows new drivers to evaluate the organization.
"This series gives new drivers an opportunity to try the team out in a competitive environment while looking toward future racing plans. Whether it is a single race weekend or the entire series, a driver will be fully integrated in to our system and have the opportunity to work with every member of the team."
One such up and coming driver has already committed to the full Winter Series program with JWR. Californian Mike Hill, who has been working his way up the open wheel ladder, has joined the team beginning with the opening round at Buttonwillow.
"We were introduced to Mike through our driver coach Gord Bentley at Speed Secrets. We spent some time with him at our season ending race at Laguna Seca and have been working on a deal ever since. Mike has had a lot of success in karting, racing in the competitive California karting scene. That area has produced some of the top drivers in Star Mazda recently so we hope that Mike can carry on that tradition".
Hill has been racing for more than seven years beginning in quarter-midgets before progressing through the karting ranks and eventually in to formula cars. Hill achieved success early and often in karting including several wins and championships along with a fifth place finish at the Rotax Grand Nationals in 2005. In 2006 Hill advanced to Formula Fords, dominating the regional standings and setting track records in National SCCA events.
The Gilroy, California based driver moved to Formula BMW in 2007 with Team KMA, finishing fifteenth in the final points standings. Hill is thrilled with the prospects of working with the JWR crew.
"I'm really excited to be doing the winter series with John Walko Racing. I was able to observe them in action at Laguna Seca and was really impressed. They really have their act together and each individual knows what their part of the equation is. They seem like a great group and I'm looking forward to having a good partnership with them. I'm hoping to improve my racecraft and work with a team that I know I can really learn a lot from"
The JWR team will make the most of the warm winter climate of the Southwest by not only participating in the Winter Series but also scheduling testing between the race dates.