Young Americans Making Waves in Europe Silverstone, England (August 16, 2004) ---- More than a decade has passed since an American driver last competed in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, but current signs seem to indicate that the ...
Young Americans Making Waves in Europe
Silverstone, England (August 16, 2004) ---- More than a decade has passed since an American driver last competed in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, but current signs seem to indicate that the pinnacle of open-wheel racing might not be devoid of Stars & Stripes representation for too much longer.
Two winners of the high-profile Red Bull Driver Search initiative -- Scott Speed, 21, from Manteca, Calif., and Colin Fleming, 20, from North Hills, Calif. -- have emerged as regular pacesetters in the Formula Renault Eurocup, while two more American youngsters -- Charlie Kimball, 19, from Camarillo, Calif., and Joe D'Agostino, also 19, from Plantation,. Fla. -- recently have earned their first victories in the equally prestigious UK Formula Ford Championship.
Kimball and D'Agostino both carried the patriotic Team USA Scholarship colors in the New Zealand International Formula Ford Challenge this past January, with Kimball scoring a dominant sweep of the final three races at Ruapuna Park, Christchurch, and narrowly edging out local rising stars Tim Edgell and Chris Pither to the series crown.
The American duo have chosen to continue their auto racing "education" in British Formula Ford competition -- a series which in the past has provided a foundation for many of the sport's greatest stars, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Gil de Ferran, David Coulthard and Jenson Button.
Kimball began his title bid by claiming pole position in the opening two races of the season at Donington Park in April, and finally scored a long overdue maiden victory at the challenging Oulton Park International circuit last month.
"This is just an amazing feeling," said Kimball. "The team and I have had the pace all year but we just haven't put the results together. I'm glad that I could repay the team's hard work with this super win."
Kimball followed up that success by winning again the following day.
Yesterday at the famed Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, home of the British Grand Prix, Kimball's teammate D'Agostino continued Team JLR's winning ways by claiming his first victory -- with Kimball following home in second place. It was the first time two Americans have taken the first two places in a British Formula Ford Championship race since the series' inception in 1967.
"It was great; I'm just over the moon," said D'Agostino, who began the season with minimal testing following his recuperation from an arm-breaking crash in the New Zealand Grand Prix in January. "The team has supported me all along and I've been trying so hard, so long, so it's great to have the opportunity to really show what I can do."
The Team USA Scholarship was founded in 1990. Jimmy Vasser was the first Scholarship recipient, and went on to win the 1996 Champ Car World Series title for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. Bryan Herta, Jerry Nadeau, Memo Gidley, this year's Indianapolis 500 Champion Buddy Rice, and budding Champ Car star A.J. Allmendinger are among an illustrious list of more recent Team USA Scholarship award winners.