Sandy Dells Racing tests several candidates in preparation for 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Championship Series. Drivers include Mike Potekhen and Colin Fleming San Marcos, Calif. (March 26, 2002) - Sandy Dells Racing recently tested four ...
Sandy Dells Racing tests several candidates in preparation for 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Championship Series. Drivers include Mike Potekhen and Colin Fleming
San Marcos, Calif. (March 26, 2002) - Sandy Dells Racing recently tested four driver candidates in preparation for the team's entry into the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Championship Series. The test, at Willow Springs Raceway, included USF2000 National Championship and Star Mazda race winner Mike Potekhen, shifter kart standout Colin Fleming, and Formula Mazda competitors Tony Sanchez and Mark Broyles.
"We're planning on running at least two cars in the Fran-Am 2000 series this year," said Sandy Dells, whose team has won a number of CART Toyota Atlantic races and Formula Ford championships over the years. "Right now, we're looking for a teammate for Mike (Potekhen), and even for a possible third car. I see Fran-Am as the new up-and-coming series to be a part of and am 110 percent behind this program. Now is the time to get in, because once this series takes off, it will really pay-off for the teams and drivers that got in on the ground floor. Our first car will be here in the next couple of weeks and we're anxious to get some more seat time and experience with it."
"The car is excellent," said Potekhen, 22, who hails from Silverthorne, Colorado. "I had heard about it, but once I finally got in, it was even better than I expected. We put a lot of miles on it at Willow Springs and never had a problem. Having driven and won in both F2000 and Formula Mazda, I'm certain that the Fran-Am series will be very competitive in its own right. And I know that Sandy is the right guy to put together a winning team."
Potekhen most recently won the final two rounds of the 2001 USF2000 National Championship in Sebring, Florida. Fleming, 17, is currently one of America's leading kart racers with seven Grand National and ten regional championships to his credit. He also recently earned a test in a Team Rahal CART Champ Car, for special recognition as one of the 2001 CART Stars of Tomorrow winners.
The Fran-Am 2000 Championship, a cousin of Formula Renault in Europe and South America, begins its inaugural North American season this year with support from Michelin International. In addition, the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American series champion is guaranteed a fully-funded seat with a leading Formula Renault team for the 2003 European series.
Formula Renault is recognized worldwide as a primary feeder for the Formula One stars of tomorrow. Recent graduates include McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen (who went straight to Formula One from Formula Renault) as well as Sauber's Felipe Massa. American Pat Long is competing in the 2002 British Formula Renault series with Raikkonen's 2000 championship-winning Manor Motorsports team.
The Fran-Am 2000 race car is the same car that currently competes in Formula Renault around the world, and features a spec-Tatuus carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, sealed 2.0-liter/186-horsepower motor (capable of running an entire season without a rebuild), 6-speed sequential gearbox, and spec-Michelin Sport racing tires. The spec nature of the series has proven to keep operating costs to a minimum, while providing a level playing field to all competitors. Since gear sets are pre-determined, race weekend adjustments are basically limited to wings, spring rates, ride height, castor, camber and tire pressure. Most races begin with a standing start, and culminate after 50-60 miles.
Four of the ten race dates for the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Championship include the Molson Indy Vancouver on Saturday, July 27, CASCAR at Mosport on June 14-16, Mid-America Motorplex on September 6-8, and the series finale at Firebird International Raceway on December 1. Remaining events will be announced shortly.