On Saturday June 23, 2001, 18-year-old Dan McMullen of Gormley, Ontario took a giant step forward in his goal of becoming a professional racecar driver just one and a half years after graduating from kart racing. He is also a graduate of the ...
On Saturday June 23, 2001, 18-year-old Dan McMullen of Gormley, Ontario took a giant step forward in his goal of becoming a professional racecar driver just one and a half years after graduating from kart racing. He is also a graduate of the Bridgestone-Firestone Racing Academy in 2000 where he won the scholarship to attend the Elf la Filiere Racing School in France this year.
At the track in Val de Vienne, France, Dan won his first race in the 2001 Elf Formula Campus Championship, and for that matter, the first ever race in this prestigious training series for a Canadian driver. In the past several years, two other young Canadians, Billy Asaro, now running in the USF2000 series and leading the championship, and Kyle Herder, presently contesting the Canadian Champ Car Lights Series could not achieve this goal.
The Elf la Filiere Racing School, which runs the Formula Campus Series in the French National Championship, is one of, if not the most respected and elite racing schools in the world. Based in Le Mans, France, young students are trained in the schools formula race cars, powered by 1.4 liter Renault engines putting out 110 bhp. The cars have aerodynamic wings, run on slick Michelin racing tires and are maintained by a large staff, also students at la Filiere, to ensure that each and every car is as equal in performance as they possibly can be. By having racecars that are identical in every possible way, the emphasis is placed on the driver's ability rather than on the quality of the car itself. Students are required to move to France for a nine-month period beginning in early January each year. They practice at the famed track in Le Mans, on the Bugatti Circuit that comprises part of the historic layout used for the 24 Hours of Le Mans each June.
The season is now three-quarters complete and Dan sits in tenth place overall in the Championship, having earned 66 points so far. Early season problems with mechanical gremlins affected greatly his qualifying performance, but when race time came, Dan showed what he has. Coming from near the back of the pack to the front has been a regular site at the various tracks that the series visits. One of his most notable races being at Magny Cours, home of the French Grand Prix, where he qualified twenty-first for the first race that weekend and finished a very deserving sixth, and in the second race the following day started eighteenth and ended up in eight position. A difficult feat in identical racecars! With races at Le Mans in September and Magny Cours in October, two tracks that Dan has already tasted great success, he is hoping to add to his points and move up even further in the Championship before arriving at the season ending Renault Finals.
Dan hopes to move on in 2002 to a higher level of racing. Plans are being considered for several series including the Canadian Formula Ford Championship, the USF2000 Series, the Barber Dodge Pro Series or maybe even Formula Atlantic. The next goal for this young up and coming driver is obtaining the necessary funds to make this all happen. Finding sponsors willing to take up the challenge of aiding young talent is always a difficult task. At present Dan is supported by Discount Car and Truck Rentals, NOCO Fuel and Lubricants, Elf and Side Effect Graphics.