North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship field takes shape With less than a week until the first race of the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship gets underway at Phoenix International raceway, the field is taking shape as ...
North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship field takes shape
With less than a week until the first race of the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship gets underway at Phoenix International raceway, the field is taking shape as teams and drivers announce their plans for the upcoming season. The category should prove competitive, with talented drivers taking the wheel of some well-prepared cars, creating some fantastic racing.
The Formula Renault Winter Invitational provided a peak at the competitive nature of the category, and often saw the top fifteen drivers qualify within one second of the pole. The field also has a very international flavor, as it has attracted the attention of racers worldwide who are gunning for the $315,000 prize fund.
GTI Team Roshfrans motorsports is planning to campaign three cars for the 2004 season, and has signed Mexican German Quiroga to the squad, and is finalizing details for the two remaining seats. Jalmex Logistics will adorn the side of Aurelio Lopez's Autotechnica machine as the young Mexican makes a return to the category for a full season effort.
Eurointernational, which also fields teams in the European-based Formula Renault Eurocup, will take to the track with Venezuelan Ricardo Imery and Argentinean Juan Ponte. Ponte scored the runner-up position in the winter invitational to Junior Strous, and is eager to take the championship in the summer season.
"I have some unfinished business," declared Ponte, who impressed during the Winter Invitational with both his speed and his consistency, as he made three visits to the podium during the five-race season.
Imery will also be looking to score seat time in the Formula Renault V6 that is available as part of the comprehensive prize package, as he has his eyes squarely on moving up to that category in 2005. Eurointernational is also working on a third entry for the near future.
Gelles Racing will campaign three drivers as well, with Gustavo Sondermann American Michael Yaeger, and Canadian Brandon Thomas. Sondermann, who was the first driver to test the Formula Renault V6 in the States, should prove to be a consistent threat, as he took one win in the Winter Invitational on his way to third in the championship. Gelles has an eye towards the future as well, as they recently announced the addition of test driver David Greco, an Italian born-Canadian resident who is looking to work his way up into the Formula Renault 2000 Championship.
Aim Autosport will post two Canadian racers for the season as Mark Wilkins and Dan McMullen will team up again after proving to be a successful pairing in the Winter Invitational. Wilkins scored a podium result at Homestead, while McMullen took the charge to Winter Invitational Champion Strouss in the final race of the season, going wheel to wheel in the closing laps and coming up less than two feet shy of his first victory. The close call has left McMullen feeling confident but hungry as he looks toward the 2004 season.
Several other teams are expected to reveal their plans for the season as preparations continue for the opening round in Phoenix, and the field is expected to grow with teams finalizing agreements with drivers and sponsors.
The North American Formula Renault Championships are sanctioned by Grand American, and provide a ladder for drivers to develop their talent, with a full in-house open-wheel progression available. The 2004 season will get underway April 8-10 at Phoenix International Raceway.
The Formula Renault V6 Championship is the top rung on the North American Formula Renault Championship ladder, which also includes the North American Formula Renault 1600 Championship and the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship. The Formula Renault V6 is expected to make its North American competition debut in the latter stages of the2004 North American Formula Renault 2000 season.