Hearn Motorsports Announces Two Race Deal with Maryeve Dufault MONTREAL, June 21, 2006 -- Hearn Motorsports announced today the addition of a third car to its Formula BMW USA Series stable for the next two rounds of the open wheel...
Hearn Motorsports Announces Two Race Deal with Maryeve Dufault
MONTREAL, June 21, 2006 -- Hearn Motorsports announced today the addition of a third car to its Formula BMW USA Series stable for the next two rounds of the open wheel racing series. Maryeve Dufault (Sorel, Quebec, Canada) will make her Formula BMW USA debut at her native country's biggest motorsports event; the Canadian Grand Prix, June 23-25, in Montreal. She will follow that with a second appearance during the United States Grand Prix weekend at Indianapolis on July 1-2. Dufault, a former Miss Hawaiian Tropic International, will join the team owned by open wheel racing standout Richie Hearn (Henderson, Nev.) driving the No. 90 Hearn Motorsports/BMW. Due to the two-race weekend format of the Formula BMW Series, Dufault (pronounced MaryEv Due-fO) will participate in a total of four races over the course of the two weekends. She teams with full-season Hearn drivers Jules Duc (Los Gatos, Calif.) and Ryan Phinny (Carmel Valley, Calif.).
"I am really happy to be doing my first Formula BMW race in Canada and with Hearn Motorsports," said Dufault. "I am sure I will have great support from all the local fans. It is going to be a lot of pressure. I hope people understand that this is my first time in the car. It's going to be a tough race for me. I wish I had a chance to have a test day but sometimes it happens so fast you do what you can. This is an opportunity for me to do this race so I am doing it. At Indianapolis I will know more about what to expect."
"We're obviously pleased to have Maryeve on our team for two of the biggest weekends we'll run all year," said Hearn, himself a two-time starter at Montreal where he won once ('93) and finished second once ('94) in the Champ Car Atlantics Series. "Entering a third car has been our goal since we began this program last fall. This weekend's Canadian Grand Prix will be tough for all the drivers, not just Maryeve but Jules and Ryan too. There isn't much time on the track for the Formula BMW cars. We get a 30 minute practice, 30 minutes of qualifying and then two races. So, the drivers will need to learn the track fast. Maryeve also needs to learn the car. We aren't going to put any pressure on her as a team. There will be enough of that. We just want her to go out and get comfortable. These cars are different than anything that she has done but I'm confident in her ability. This is going to be one of the hardest weekends on the drivers all year as far as the schedule is concerned. I've raced here before, we'll have our engineer here. So, we'll be in better shape than some of the new teams and drivers. But, it is still a tough weekend."
Dufault, who is also professional model and actress, is far from the long list of celebrities that try their hand at motorsports before moving back in front of the camera. Her racing career began at the age of four when she started moto-crossing following in the footsteps of her father and brother, each of who road raced motorcycles. As is the case with many racers, Dufault moved to karts following her time on two wheels before making the transition to racing cars. In 2004, she took part in the ESPN Jim Russell School and began competing in select races in the school series. She raced there when possible through last season. She also started a handful of events in the Formula Star Mazda Series in 2005 before switching her attention to the Skip Barber Racing School Series in 2006. She continues to kart in the Rotax Series having led much of her most recent event before finishing second.
While her ultra-successful modeling and acting career has taken her away from the sport at times, her first love, motorsports, has always been at the center of her focus and her future.
"My main focus is racing," said Dufault. "I don't see myself anywhere else; racing is in my blood. I have always been involved in racing. I have always wanted to race but didn't have the financing. The modeling helped me do the racing and I now have the experience in front of a camera to help my sponsors. I am really happy to get where I am today and I am really determined to reach the top of my racing career."
"This is a great series and to drive for Richie Hearn will bring the best out of me," continued Dufault. "I am really happy to work with Richie. He has a really good racing background. He knows racing really well. It is going to be great for me. He knows the track and it is a great team. His experience is going to help me a lot."
Dufault was part of a recent news-making moment on her trip from Los Angeles back to Montreal for the race. She was one of 131 people on the American Airlines flight that had to make an emergency landing at Chicago's O'Hare Airport when its nose, landing gear failed to deploy. The pilot was able to land the plane safely but the jarring hit and smoke from the subsequent flames of the hull sliding on the ground was a physically and emotionally draining experience for the passengers.
"It was crazy," said Dufault. "I had my helmet with me and I thought about putting it on. As a racer you occasionally have a hard hit but the difference is you have more control of that. You are just a passenger in something like this."
Duc, pronounced Duke, and Phinny will return in their now familiar No. 12 Duc Housing Partners/Hearn Motorsports and No. 16 Baja Cantina/Eagle Air Conditioning/Hearn Motorsports BMWs, respectively. While the two young drivers have had frustrations early in the season, they have also each shown great promise.
"We're all just finding our rhythm together, I think," said Hearn about his two fulltime drivers. "They're both learning and, as a team, we're learning. But, we're getting there and I am pretty confident that we'll be running consistently up front before long with all three of our cars."