USF2000 – 2012 Champions, Changes to FE, and a New Presenting Sponsor

The Championship Class

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The National and Championship class titles were both decided last Saturday during Race #2 at the Virginia International Raceway, the final race of the 2012 Cooper Tires USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda, and it was a good weekend to be a Cape Motorsports driver! Spencer Pigot, thanks to his setting the fastest lap time on his way to a dominant win in Race #1, started from Pole in Race #2 and took that advantage all the way to the checkers, making it a sweep for the Team Pelfrey-sponsored driver. Coming into the VIR weekend 41 points down, Pigot had to do everything exactly right this past weekend to have any chance at the title, and he did just that. Winning both races from pole and leading every single lap of the weekend, Spencer had a perfect weekend. Unfortunately for Spencer, it wasn’t quite enough to overcome the lead his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate, Matthew Brabham, had established after the weekend at the Grand Prix of Baltimore.

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“It was another really good race today, nice and uneventful which is how I like it. In the end, we came up a little bit short in the championship and it’s a little disappointing but overall on the year, we won over half the races so I can’t be too disappointed with that. The Cape Motorsports’ guys were awesome all year. I have to thank everyone in the series especially Mazda for all the support they give young drivers, Cooper Tires and all the USF2000 staff.” — Spencer Pigot, #2 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing

In spite of winning eight of the fourteen rounds in the 2012 season, one DNF at Baltimore and two poor finishes, a P16 at Road America in Race #1, and a P23 at Mid-Ohio in Race #2, ultimately were to blame for his coming up a mere seven points short of Brabham who only had one finish outside the top-10. That consistency not only secures the championship for Matthew, but it also awards him a full-ride scholarship to the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear in 2013!

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“I am over the moon at how the whole year went. I didn’t expect to come into the year and, within the first couple of races, to be up to the front straightaway. So, my goals changed pretty quickly and I was going for the championship for the rest of the year. Spencer [Pigot] was really quick all year. We pushed each other so much and I think we were in a class of our own the whole season and I am sure that he and I will be racing together the whole way up. It was definitely a good rivalry. I learned a lot and we pushed each other and learned more probably with pushing each other. The team has been great all year. We were fast everywhere. Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing was just awesome and I have to really, really thank them and my parents and everyone that I have been staying with in the U.S. as I have been gypsying around. It’s been a fantastic year and I am just really, really happy.” — Matthew Brabham, #83 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing

The National Class

In the National Class, the battle going into the final race was a lot closer, but the young driver from Norway, Henrik Furuseth, came away with the title after winning both races at VIR. Furuseth finished Race #2 in 14th with Mark Eaton right behind him in 15th. R.C. Enerson, the third championship contender going to the final race, passed Henrik on the start, and could have won the championship if he’d stayed ahead of him, but contact with a Championship class car would relegate him to the back of the grid and a P25 finish. That was costly as not only did Enerson lose the championship, he also allowed Eaton to overtake him for P2 in the points standing. After leading the championship most of the season, a DNF at Baltimore and a costly mistake at VIR put him back in third spot in the championship at the end of the season.

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“My first season in the US has been amazing winning 7 out of 13 races. I had a big battle with RC Enerson and Mark Eaton this year, it was so much fun racing against them, as well as all the other National Class drivers. The team worked really hard all year long, and they have given me a fantastic car every single time out. I have to thank them as well as my main sponsors Palfinger & Akrene Mek for their incredible support. It’s been very good to be a part of this series and program. Hopefully I can come back next year driving a USF2000 Championship Class car, which is the natural thing for me after winning this championship. I very much look forward to the upcoming season!” — Henrik Furuseth, #32 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing

Changes for 2013

When the Formula Enterprise (FE) chassis was announced as a permissible a National Class entry to the Cooper Tires USF2000 National Championship Powered By Mazda, many were skeptical that it would be competitive with the other Formula Continental (FC) cars already in the National Class. Henrik Furuseth and Mark Eaton proved them wrong with their 1st and 2nd place finishes in the points, respectively. The future of the FE chassis looked bleak when SCCA Pro Racing terminated it’s FE series for 2012, and the USF2000 option looked like an ‘also-ran’ type of venture. With the success this season, SCCA Enterprises is looking to strengthen the presence and viability of the FE platform by offering a USF2000 scholarship for the winner of the FE class in the SCCA National Championship Run-Offs, and offering to the winner of the 2013 National Class a scholarship package to help secure a Championship Class ride in 2014.

“SCCA Enterprises is extremely proud that Formula Enterprises has a strengthened position in the USF2000 Series National Class. My Board and I discussed our belief that this was the only series we wanted to pursue because of the opportunities it presents, the Mazda Road to Indy and that our cost-effective cars are best when racing only against themselves. Presenting the National Class is an honor, and fulfills our highest objectives for the FE cars’ future plans.” Erik Skirmants, SCCA Enterprises President and CEO

In addition to the scholarships, SCCA Enterprises is also becoming the new Presenting Sponsor. In 2013, the series will be known as the SCCA Enterprises USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda. As a result of this more intimate relationship with SCCA Enterprises, the FC chassis that were originally permitted to compete will be disallowed in 2013. The National Class competitors will get additional promotion from the series as there will be a complete podium celebration for the National Class. In 2012, only the NAT winner was recognized during the podium celebration, but in 2013, all of the top three finishers in both the CHP and NAT classes will be honored.

Now that we’re officially in the off-season, don’t think that there won’t be a wealth of Mazda Road to Indy news! The 2013 USF2000 schedule is coming out soon, testing begins at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield road course on October 11th and 12th, and Winterfest will be here before you know it! We’ll try our best to keep you up-to-date on testing results and the latest in driver signings as we count down the days to the 2013 season opener.

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