North American Formula Renault debut race weekend highly successful The inaugural North American Formula Renault 2000 event at Phoenix International Raceway last weekend was widely regarded as a success, with the weekend providing close ...
North American Formula Renault debut race weekend highly successful
The inaugural North American Formula Renault 2000 event at Phoenix International Raceway last weekend was widely regarded as a success, with the weekend providing close competition, fast, reliable cars, and a highly talented field. Juan Ponte of Argentina scored the first win in North American Formula Renault 2000 history with his impressive lights-to-flag run at the front.
Cost containment is an important element of the Formula Renault package, and center to this is the reliability of the cars. The weekend featured a promoter test day in advance of the race meeting and saw the field complete over 2,400 timed laps in total during the weekend, or more than 3,600 miles, without a single engine problem. Series officials were pleased with the race weekend, and are looking forward to the rest of the season.
"Phoenix was a great success for us," said North American Formula Renault General Manger Brett Ross. "We had the opportunity to meet with the teams, and they are firmly behind us as we grow this series. We had fifteen drivers for the weekend, and we are working hard to grow the field with quality entrants throughout the season, and we are hoping some of our efforts will pay off as soon as the next round at Mont Tremblant."
The rules package emphasizes parity, and the qualifying order demonstrated how evenly matched the drivers and cars are, with twelve drivers setting times within one second of Ponte's pole time. The Formula Renault category is a development category, but still provides the drivers with experience in very fast machinery, with the lap times set by the drivers were close to those set by the sharp end of the field for the Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototypes, which also raced during the weekend.
The race also showed the field to be very talented, as the entire race ran under green flag conditions despite the tight nature of the 1.51-mile infield road circuit. The fact is even more impressive given that many of the drivers in the field had never been to the track in their young careers.
The North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship will resume on the weekend of May 21-3 at Mont Tremblant in Canada.
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 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.