James Hinchcliffe shows speed and places in the top 6 in both Stars of Tomorrow finals in Florida TORONTO, ON. (SEPTEMBER 23, 2003) 16 year-old karting sensation James Hinchcliffe steered his Mobil 1 / NOCO Racing First Kart to two impressive...
James Hinchcliffe shows speed and places in the top 6 in both Stars of Tomorrow finals in Florida
TORONTO, ON. (SEPTEMBER 23, 2003) 16 year-old karting sensation James Hinchcliffe steered his Mobil 1 / NOCO Racing First Kart to two impressive finishes this past weekend at the CART Stars of Tomorrow East series final held at the 103rd Street Motorsports Complex in Jacksonville, FL. Hinchcliffe, who has shown speed and determination all year, finally received some racing luck as he took the second step on the podium after Sunday's final.
After Fridays practice day, Hinchcliffe and First Kart North American teammate Bobby Wilson sat one-two on the top of the time charts. Friday's confidence building times rolled right into Saturday morning's qualifying session as Hinchcliffe posted the quickest circuit in his time trial group only to be out done his teammate Wilson. The First Kart duo would occupy the front row in the pre-final.
"I really enjoy this track" stated the Oakville, ON resident. "I raced here earlier in the year and had some bad luck and would really like to turn it around this weekend." As James rolled to the starting grid he noticed a clutch problem that would eventually falter his start. A sticking clutch saw Hinchcliffe get off the line slowly as he fell down in the race order to 12th position. An excellent drive saw
this talented young man weave his way through the field as he sliced his way into the top 10 and would start the final from the 8th position.
Hinchcliffe and tuner Trevor Daly worked on the clutch problem to ensure everything was in place for the final. Though not totally perfect, James managed to stay in the top 10 on the start and move into the 5th position by the end of lap two. A freak incident which saw Hinchcliffe's nose cone break and buckle under his kart forced him to take evasive action off the racing line as he would begin to battle an understeer problem. As the nose cone wore through and broke away, the karts handling came back and Hinchcliffe worked his way into the 6th position. "It was a difficult day today but we still managed a good result. Hopefully tomorrow we can turn things around and finish at the front."
Sunday morning saw Hinchcliffe's qualifying position change drastically as they miscalculated on the chassis set-up which put James half way down the running order in the 12th position. A cancellation of the pre-final due to bad weather caused by Hurricane Isabel would see Hinchcliffe and fellow competitors make an estimated guess on what would be the optimum set-up for the wet conditions. As the ICC competitors were called to the grid the rain had stopped and the track had begun to dry. The decision in the Parc Ferme impound area was going to be tough as a wrong tire choice could mean the difference between winning and losing the race. Daly began to put the grooved rain tires on the kart only to be stopped by Hinchcliffe before the grid gates closed. With many drivers already on the grid and having their minds set on tires Hinchcliffe, Wilson and a handful of other competitors scrambled to go to a dry set-up.
"I didn't know if this was the right choice" explained Hinchcliffe "but sometimes you have to take a chance, and it proved to be beneficial today." James entered the track in his 12th place starting position but quickly fell to the tail end of the field. To the teams dismay, they did not get the clutch problem totally fixed from the day before. With the slick conditions, a clutch problem and dry tires, James would have his work cut out for him. Hinchcliffe put his head down and worked his way through the field and into the top 10. Some bold passes at the end of Jacksonville's famous 1000 foot straightaway saw James go deep on the brakes into the corner and force his way in through the field. Several fans and drivers from other classes came to the fence and grandstands to cheer the young Canadian to the front. With the advantage of slick tires and a now drying track, Hinchcliffe entered the final circuit in P4 and was closing quickly on Stuart Marsell. A last lap pass secured a podium position for James and gave him a much needed confidence boost heading into the years biggest events that will take place within the next two months. After a post race technical inspection, a fellow competitor was disqualified moving Hinchcliffe into the second position until a ruling is made on the technical infraction. James would like to thank First Kart, Mobil 1, NOCO Racing and his mom and dad for all their continued support.
Hinchliffe's next on track activity will see him compete on September 26-28 weekend at the Mosport Driver Development circuit in Bowmanville, ON. in the final round of the Bridgestone/FormulaCar Magazine F2000 series. James currently sits tied for 3rd in the series standings entering the final event which will crown the F2000 champion.
James is actively seeking sponsorship money to move up the motorsports ladder and advance his career. A possible step to any of the junior formula series will show spectators where that true champions come from kart racing. For more information and sponsorship opportunities on James Hinchcliffe and NOCO Racing please contact James at 905-337-2450 or via e-mail at james@jameshinchcliffe. For more information visit James online at www.jameshinchcliffe.com