Driver pairing to enjoy additional support from top US race car designer
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – The Afterburner Autosport crew has scored a win and a trio of podium finishes this year in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series, and now they’re heading to the ‘Night Before The 500’ at Lucas Oil Raceway this weekend with two oval track rookies in Brazilians Victor Franzoni and Gustavo Myasava. Franzoni has shown extreme talent thus far in his USF2000 rookie year, winning the season opener in St. Petersburg, and following this up with podium finishers at both Barber Motorsports Park and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Myasava’s results are not indicative of his outright speed, and the team expects great things from the young pilot during the remainder of the season.
“After a really good test last week at Lucas Oil Raceway, we are confident we will have two strong cars and drivers ready to compete for honors at the only oval race of the series,” offered Team Manager Brian Tomasi.
The team tested on the 5/8-mile banked oval on Tuesday, May 13 and despite the fact that the final sessions were scuttled by the arrival of heavy rain, it was a very strong outing all around. Afterburner put their two rookies on-track and allowed them to come up to speed slowly, sampling a unique discipline that they have not yet experienced. By the end of the day, which saw them turn almost 200 laps each, Franzoni was up to speed quickly, topping the charts during the second session, eventually ending with the eighth fastest lap of the day. The Brazilian was incredibly consistent, as he picked up the skill set immediately, and should be considered as a prime contender for the race win. Myasava was also very consistent, and will be gunning to find some necessary pace in Friday practice.
“I’m very excited for this race, we did very well at the test and we have a fast car,” Franzoni confirmed. “I’m still learning the oval, but what I really need to learn is how to drive side-by-side, make passes and understand the strategies for the race. Overall, I’m very confident and excited!”
The team made the calculated move to bring ICP-Citation’s Steve Lathrop onto the team’s engineering staff for the event in an effort to provide the drivers and mechanics with more input. Lathrop has tremendous USF2000 experience, both as an engineer and an acclaimed car builder, having designed and constructed the race-winning Citation open-wheel junior formula car for many years.
The drivers will be on-track for two practice sessions on Friday (3:45 pm and 8:00 pm ET). On Saturday, they will be back on the asphalt oval for two more sessions (11:30 am and 12:45 pm) ahead of single-car qualifying at 4:10 pm. The 75-lap main event is scheduled for 7:40 pm as part of an exciting night that will include the Pro Mazda Championship and the USAC Midgets. Live timing and play-by-play can be access at the following link; www.usf2000.com/results/live-timing
Afterburner is very focused on the continuing success of its two drivers, but will also be available for testing during the two-month break that follows this weekend’s event in Indy. The next stop on the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda is Mid-Ohio on August 2-4 and Afterburner has seats available for this event, as well as the remainder of the season.
About Afterburner Autosport:
Afterburner Autosport was formed in 2010 with the sole purpose of leading the way in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda competition. Under the guidance of F2000 racer and engineer Tim Walsh and two-time SCCA Formula Continental National Champion Brian Tomasi, the team has over 20 years of experience in open-wheel competition. The Minnesota-based squad, having captured two podium finishes in its inaugural pro racing season in 2011, has continually developed and grown since it joined the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. In 2013, Afterburner Autosport scored its inaugural series wins with rookie Alex Baron. The highly regarded team returns to the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy program in 2014 with a talented multi-car effort, and has already won this year with Victor Franzoni in St. Petersburg.