Hearn Motorsports Set for Formula BMW USA Debut at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Oh., May 15, 2006 -- Hearn Motorsports will make its Formula BMW USA Series debut this week at the same location in made its racing premiere in 2004, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car...
Hearn Motorsports Set for Formula BMW USA Debut at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Oh., May 15, 2006 -- Hearn Motorsports will make its Formula BMW USA Series debut this week at the same location in made its racing premiere in 2004, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. 2006 marks the first season that the team owned by IndyCar Racing standout Richie Hearn (Henderson, Nev.) will compete in the intensely competitive spec-car, support series. As he has done since starting the team, Hearn will introduce new talent to the sport. His drivers for the 14-race, seven weekend schedule will be 2005 Formula BMW participant Jules Duc (Los Gatos, Calif.) and '05 Red Bull Driver Search Finalist Ryan Phinny (Carmel Valley, Calif.). The two drivers will have a final pre-season test on May 18th at the 2.25-mile, 13-turn road course before their first race slated for Saturday, May 20th and a second 30-minute feature on Sunday, May 21st.
Duc, pronounced Duke, will be behind the wheel of the No. 12 Duc Housing Partners/ Hearn Motorsports BMW while Phinny, pronounced Fin-E, will pilot the No. 16 Baja Cantina/ Eagle Air Conditioning/ Hearn Motorsports BMW. It will be their first official pairing as teammates and their first race weekend with Hearn Motorsports.
"We have pretty high goals set for this weekend," said Hearn who will forgo an Indianapolis 500 ride to focus on his young drivers. "Our testing has been okay but I don't think we have shown what we can do. Jules finished the last test well and he knows Mid-Ohio. Ryan, I expect to run in the top-five and challenging for a podium finish. It will be interesting to see where we stack up. We have the new trailer and everything. We'll be there in force."
Both drivers have had limited exposure to the popular Mid-Ohio course. Duc, 15, competed at the track last year in the Formula BMW USA Series while Phinny, also 15, has participated in a driving school at the track. Their understanding of the course, however basic, will quicken the learning process allowing Hearn to provide coaching without having to overcome poorly learned habits in prior races.
"I consider both drivers really rookies," continued Hearn about the biggest challenges facing his team this weekend. "There are a lot of good returning drivers coming back to the Series from last year. Hopefully, we'll eliminate rookie mistakes that will keep us from finishing sessions or the race. We've never really run these cars in race conditions either, so there is always an unknown. Still, I am pretty confident we'll be in the mix of things... or should be."