Atlanta, GA (November 12, 2007) -- Justin Pritchard of Granville, OH, driving the new Piper F1000, won the 1st Annual F1000 Championship presented by Taylor Race Engineering and Phoenix Race Works. Pritchard dominated most of the weekend,...
Atlanta, GA (November 12, 2007) -- Justin Pritchard of Granville, OH, driving the new Piper F1000, won the 1st Annual F1000 Championship presented by Taylor Race Engineering and Phoenix Race Works.
Pritchard dominated most of the weekend, starting from pole and setting fast lap on his way to an 8 second win over runner-up Cole Morgan. Joining them on the podium was Champcar driver Tonis Kasemets.
Morgan, the reigning Formula 2000 Champion, also started the race on the front row, after missing the pole by a mere .065 seconds. Kasemets started right behind them in a Speads RM-07A.
Even though the top three drivers finished where they started, the race was far from processional. Morgan, at the wheel of a Stohr F1000, jumped out to an early lead but was only able to hold it for part of the first lap before Pritchard regained it, never to relinquish it. Morgan soon fell into a spirited battle with Kasemets and the two would swap positions throughout the race, often multiple times each lap.
On the fifth lap, 6th place starter Sean O'Connell's engine expired, starting a fire and depositing oil on the track, which brought out a full-course caution. As the tail-end of the field caught up to the very slow pack just over the hill before turn 12, several cars made contact which brought out a black flag, halting the race for nearly 40 minutes.
After the track was cleared, the green flag flew again and Morgan and Kasemets resumed their battle while Pritchard pulled away once again. Pritchard was nursing a broken sternum and sprained wrist suffered during a hard crash in his Subaru WRX during the Lake Superior Pro Rally two weeks earlier but showed no ill effects from those injuries.
"Traffic was the biggest issue," according to Pritchard. "With Cole and Tonis fighting like that it gave me a chance on the first couple laps to get out in the lead and get a little bit of a gap so I didn't have to pass on the grass."
Behind the top three, newly crowned D-Sports Racer National Champion J.R. Osborne had his hands full with fellow Stohr drivers Jean-Luc Liverato and Nicholas Belling. The three ran nose to tail for most of the race with Osborne gaining the advantage at the checkered flag. Belling, who came all the way from Vancouver, British Columbia and had never seen Road Atlanta, held the fourth spot for much of the race until a mistake in turn 3 relegated him to sixth. Liverato would round out the top five finishers.
A total of 13 cars took the green flag in the inaugural F1000 Championship in just its first year of existence. With such a closely contested race and growing interest in the class, organizers expect double that number in 2008.
About the ARRC: The American Road Race of Champions is the national amateur championship for all Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) classes that are not included in the Runoffs. Dating all the way back to 1965, it has been held at one of North America's premier road race circuits, Road Atlanta since the early '70s. The ARRC attracts over 300 drivers from all over the country and crowns national champions in 51 classes. www.arrc-online.com
About F1000: Formula 1000 is the Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) newest and most exciting class. F1000 is based loosely on the existing Formula Continental class but with updated power coming from 1000cc superbike engines. These high-tech, all aluminum four cylinder engines put out up to 180 horsepower, rev to 13,000 rpm, and permit speeds of over 150 mph. Combine this with downforce provided by front and rear wings and slick tires and you get performance just behind SCCA's fastest class, Formula Atlantic. Competitors include both purpose-built cars built by racecar manufacturers and existing cars converted to F1000, often by the person driving it. www.formula1000.com