Team KMA announces driver line-up for the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship Cape Coral, Florida /Halifax, Nova Scotia (December 27, 2006) - Team KMA Racing principals Ingo Strackerjan and Jon Lewis delivered a belated Christmas present today...
Team KMA announces driver line-up for the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship
Cape Coral, Florida /Halifax, Nova Scotia (December 27, 2006) - Team KMA Racing principals Ingo Strackerjan and Jon Lewis delivered a belated Christmas present today with the announcement of three drivers that will pilot the Team KMA Formula BMW program in 2007.
"We are extremely excited and proud to announce Julia Landauer, Mike Hill and Jeffrey Petriello as drivers for Team KMA's assault on the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship," exclaimed team co-owner Jon Lewis. "We were fortunate to have six talented drivers participate in our test earlier this month. All six were impressive, however ultimately it had to come down to the best all-around drivers and here they are."
After a lengthy and extended deliberation by Team KMA's principals, their sponsor and test committee (all specifically experienced in FB2 cars) it was finally decided who would be named as their sponsored drivers for the 2007 Formula BMW USA racing season. Julia Landauer, Mike Hill and Jeffrey Petriello were performing with what the team called talent and dedication - therefore deserving of the sponsored seats in the Team KMA FB2 cars.
Decisions were based on ability, dedication, car feedback, marketing presence and progress while at the test. Other drivers tested were Kyle Marcelli (Canada), Ian Costa (USA) and Mathias Calderon (Ecuador) all who performed very well, but were unable to meet Team KMA's requirements.
Julia (Landauer) was by far the one who had not only the biggest hurdles to overcome, due to our not having longer pedal adjustment barrels on hand and forcing her to miss the first mornings sessions, but also progressed faster than any of the other drivers. "We are really enthused by what we saw in Julia. Her efforts, personality and desire to come and shine in front of all who attended took us all by surprise. Was she the fastest? No! Was she the one who would defy all odds? Yes! Would she communicate with the team in a professional manner and become instantaneously a team member? Without a doubt! All these items, questions and answers lead us to believe that she will help bring Team KMA to the forefront of the Formula BMW USA 2007 Series. Julia is really dedicated to racing, there is no faking or false sentiments in her," says Ingo Strackerjan, team co-owner.
"Mike (Hill) also impressed us from the start showing excellent car control and precision while proving that his performance in Formula Ford was no fluke," commented Lewis. "Mike has an infectious smile and a tremendous personality that will carry him far in the eyes of his fans and sponsors. Like Julia, he was able to communicate with the team in a professional manner, always with a smile and dedication to learning and determination to becoming better as the test progressed. We have no doubt that Mike will shine in Formula BMW."
"Jeffrey (Petriello) was quick from the onset of testing," stated Strackerjan. "He's got one focus and that's on winning. Determination is the best word to describe Jeffrey. He wanted to know everything there was to know about the data and how he could be better. When he wasn't on-track he was talking with our engineer and crew. He's going to open a lot of eyes in this Championship."
"These drivers all formed a bond very quickly and it was evident that these three were destined to be great teammates," Lewis continued, "Also, a great credit must be given to Julia's, Mike's and Jeffrey's parents as they were understanding right from the onset of what the test meant - that of getting a great sponsorship and support package for years to come, the ability to stay within one team for more than one year and their ability to see what the team produced and will be producing in the future."
"As Jon stated, this tremendous group of first year drivers in Formula BMW is exactly what we had envisioned when we formed Team KMA," commented Strackerjan. "These young men and women have a bright future ahead of them and we at Team KMA are honored to play a key role in their development and career. This is going to be one exciting year for Formula BMW and our Team."
2007 Team KMA drivers (in alphabetical order).
Mike Hill, a 17 year old senior from Gilroy, California joins Team KMA's assault on the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship after setting six Formula Ford track records at Infineon Raceway, Laguna Seca Raceway and Thunderhill Raceway in 2006. Hill claimed 12 podium finishes in 13 races during the 2006 season. Mike was invited to participate in the Rotax World Finals in Portugal as a driver of the six-member USA Team and was the Northern California Rotax Max Challenge Champion in 2005. From 2001-2003, Mike was a Quarter Midget Champion claiming several Rookie of the Year titles along the way.
Mike: "Testing with Team KMA was excellent and the weather conditions were perfect for demonstrating our all-around talent to the team. I am very excited to join team KMA, as they have great equipment and a fantastic crew. The 2007 season looks to be very busy but, very promising. It is a great schedule with many high-profile venues and I can't wait to start testing. The Formula BMW cars have exceptional handling in both wet and dry conditions that we were able to experience in testing. My teammates Jeffrey and Julia were all very good at the test and we were constantly talking and learning from each other."
Julia Landauer, a 15 year old freshman honor student at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in New York City becomes the youngest member of the Team KMA squad and the youngest female driver in Formula BMW USA history. Julia is an accomplished pianist and a member of her school's theater community. A graduate of the Lyn St, James Driver Development program, Julia's on-track performance speaks for itself. At 5' 3" and 98 lbs., Julia claimed the 2006 Skip Barber Eastern Regional Series Sportsman Championship with a perfect season winning 12 out of 12 races with 9 pole positions. In 2006, Julia was one of two drivers who participated in all five junior classes of the WKA Manufacturer's Cup and the only driver to claim top ten finishes in all classes. Julia has been racing karts since the age of 10.
Julia: "I expected that a test for a sponsored ride in FBMW would be an intimidating and nerve-wracking experience, but the other drivers and everyone from Team KMA were all very supportive and helpful. I lost my first sessions because I was noticeably shorter than the other drivers and so there was a problem getting the pedals to fit properly. With that, the mechanics worked through the morning without a lunch break to make the car fit, which proved the dedication that this team has. So when everyone else was at the stage of bringing up the speed, I had to learn how to left-foot brake, and downshift without a clutch. By the end of the second day, all six of us were pretty close in times and we each felt that all of us would make amazing team mates. I was ecstatic when I heard my name called as one of the chosen drivers for Team KMA! As I learned in Skip Barber, a champion is not just someone who can drive really fast and have great racecraft, but someone who is also a desirable attribute to their sponsors. I believe that Team KMA will help me develop all of these characteristics to become the total racer that I have to be. I'm really looking forward to being team mates with both Mike and Jeffrey. We had no problems getting to know each other, and the chemistry between us will make for a great team!"
Jeffrey Petriello, the 18 year old Formula BMW Junior Scholarship winner from Quebec, Canada joins Team KMA after a successful career in karting that began at the age of 8. Throughout his early career Jeffrey has captured numerous Championship titles including the Yamaha 100 cc class at the age of 10 in a class of 11-15 year olds. A Winner of the Alex Tagliani trophy for driver of the year, Jeffrey claimed a podium finish in his first ever race at age 8 and claimed victory in just his third ever event.
Jeffrey: "I am really satisfied to be part of Team KMA for the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship. They have proven to me that they are here to succeed, and I am anxious to start pre season testing. Earlier this month, I have had the chance to work with Team KMA and my team mates, Mike Hill and Julia Landauer, and the chemistry was excellent. I would like to say a special thank-you to my family and sponsors, without them and many others this would not be possible!"
A search for the right driver to complete Team KMA's four-car line-up is on while the Team begins a rigorous pre-season testing schedule starting in January in preparation for the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship.