Teams and drivers beat blistering heat and high humidity in triple-race weekend at VIR
Finale Highlight- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A7TMYrH6KU
Alton, Virginia (July 20, 2020)- Virginia International Raceway staged a sweltering third annual Andy Scriven Memorial Race Weekend for the Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda June 17-19. Teams and drivers battled heat indexes well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels that topped 58 percent. Environment, tire management, engine temperature control and heat stamina quickly became part of teams and drivers’ weekend strategies.
But, the racing was just as hot as the asphalt with the FR Americas drivers delivering an action-packed triple round of wheel-to-wheel racing on Saturday and Sunday.
Linus Lundqvist remained perfect in his championship chase, scoring three wins, securing three pole positions, setting fastest lap in each race all while breaking two records along the way. The trio of victories marked the Global Racing Group rookies fifth-consecutive win of the championship.
“What an absolute dream weekend – again,” Lundqvist said. “First of all, I have to thank my team at Global Racing Group. They did a great job all weekend, and it takes a whole lot of work to set up a race-winning car like that. Also massive thanks to Honda. I may be the one driving it, but there is an immense amount of teamwork behind every victory. It’s absolutely stellar and I’m so happy and proud about what we achieved this weekend.”
The F4 U.S. reigning champion Joshua Car also had a standout weekend. With a tough series debut at Mid-Ohio, the Australian Crosslink Competition pilot turned his luck around at VIR, finishing the weekend with three second-place finishes.
“The team had the car dialed in this weekend,” Car said. “(Linus) Lundqvist is really quick. There were some laps I was quicker, and some laps he was quicker. So the gaps stayed pretty stable. The team and I made so much progress this week that I know will have another go at the top step at Barber.”
Lundqvist secured pole position for Race 1 after breaking the track qualifying record with a 1:43.477-seconds flyer. The previous lap record (1:43.486-seconds) was set in 2018 by Benjamin Pedersen. Newman Wachs Racing rookie Jordan Missng shared the front row, his best starting position so far this season. (Post Qualifying Interview)
Nicky Hays (Global Racing Group) and Danial Frost (Andretti Autosport) completed Row 2. In qualifying, the Car set the second-fastest time but was assessed a penalty for causing a red flag in the session which shuffled him back to starting fifth in Row 3 with Irishman James Roe Jr. (Global Racing Group)
Lundqvist was quick of the F1-style standing start, commanding more than a one-second lead by Lap 3. Car made up one position off the start and quickly challenged Hays for third. The pair diced back and forth for two laps before Car seized the position.
A full course caution on Lap 3 grouped the cars back together. After the restart, Missng dropped wheels of in Turn 12 opening the door just wide enough for Car to slot himself into second place, pushing Missng back to third before another full course caution called out the safety crews.
With eight minutes remaining the racing went back to green. Lundqvist continued to pad his lead while Car tried to chase down the Swedish rookie, but the 35-minute clock expired, and Car crossed the stripe in second. Missng finished the race in a lone third, while his Newman Wachs teammate Victor Franzoni and HMD Motorsports rookie David Malukas took their last-lap shootout down to the final straight. Franzoni, who started ninth, won the contest, finishing in fourth, Malukas completed the top five.
“It feels absolutely amazing to be able to get a podium in my third race as a rookie in this series,” Missng said. “The competition level is so high in this series and it makes getting a podium much more enjoyable. I want to thank my team manager Brian Halahan, Shaggy, Jason, Marco, Tom and everyone at Newman Wach Racing for giving me such a fast Missig Performance Group/Autobahn Country Club/Kart Circuit Autobahn Ligier JS F3.”
The Abel Motorsports duo of Jacob Abel and Blake Upton charged from 12th and 14th starting positions to finish sixth and seventh. Logan Cusson (Jensen Global Advisors) placed eighth. Velocity Racing Development pilot Mathias Soler-Obel crossed the finish line in seventh, but was assessed a post-race penalty for jumping the start that knocked him down to ninth with Hays recovering from a mid-race off track incident in Hog Pen to finish with points in 10th. (Race Highlights)
Saturday opened with a full green 35-minute race from the 16-car FR Americas field. Starting from second, Car launched off the line to take an early lead from pole-starting Lundqvist, who played catch-up for the opening four laps. On the prowl, Lundqvist took the lead on the fifth circuit. Shaking Car, the No. 26 managed nearly a five-second gap, crossing the line uncontested in first.
Car finished in a lone second nearly 10 seconds ahead of third-place Malukas.
Malukas, starting sixth, inherited third-place around the 18-minute mark after Missng darted off track. Maintaining a three-second lead over the group of pumpkin orange GRG cars behind him, Malukas cruised toward the checkered for his first of two third-place finishes.
Global Racing Group drivers Hays and Benjamin Pedersen rounded out the top five. Franzoni, Soler Obel, Roe Jr. and Abel finished in points position.
The FR Americas Andy Scriven Memorial Race Weekend culminated at VIR on a sun-soaked oily 18-turn, 2.59-mile track.
Again, starting from the front row, Lundqvist and Car diced for the point the entire 35-minute race.
With six minutes remaining, a full course caution grouped the cars back together. Ludqvist and Car gapped the third-place Malukas instantly. In a two-lap shootout the two Ligier JS F3 cars sprinted around the technical Virginia International Raceway wheel-to-wheel, but Car was unable to get past the defending Swede as the battle went down to the checkered. Lundqvist, just edging out Car, set a new track record for the closest margin of victory, crossing the line just 0.256-seconds ahead of Car in second.
Malukas remained in his third-place starting position for the majority of the race, keeping front-runners Lundqvist and Car close. Malukas started experiencing heat-induced mechanical issues during the caution period. Franzoni got the jump on Malukas on the restart, but Malukas paid back the favor on the final lap, nursing an anguished car into a podium finish.
“It was a great weekend of learning,” Malukas said. “At a new track, with equipment that we are still beginning to learn and overcoming multiple obstacles, we still came out successful this weekend and secured two podium finishes.”
Franzoni went without visiting the steps and settled for a championship points-building weekend instead.
Frost charged from a 10th-place start to finish the race in fifth, his best result of the weekend after the 18-year-old experienced mechanical issues throughout the event. Frost gained three of those five positions in the final two laps and was awarded the Omologato Perfectly Timed Move of the Race which includes a signature Omologato watch for his passing precision.
“Difficult weekend for the team and myself,” said Frost. ” We had the pace for podium, but unfortunately we were never able to convert our pace to our true position. The team did a great job fixing the car and getting me back on track during the races. We look forward to a better weekend at Barber.”
Pedersen was shuffled back from fighting for a podium position to a sixth-place finish after his car started to fade on the restart. Hay, Missig, Roe Jr., and Upton rounded out the top 10. (Sunday Highlights)
FR Americas Championship heads further south to Birmingham, Alabama, for the SCCA Pro Racing Barber Festival at Barber Motorsports Park July 31-August 2.