Cooper Tires Winterfest Underway for Belardi Auto Racing
 February 19, 2014| 
  • Team News
Burkett, Epps, Jamin and Latorre focused on race wins in Louisiana & Alabama

BROWNSBURG, IND. – Belardi Auto Racing's continuous pursuit of race wins and championship crowns in the prestigious Mazda Road to Indy program commences this weekend (February 21-22) with the opening three races of the Cooper Tires Winterfest Series at NOLA Motorsports Park, followed quickly by the final races of the off-season championship at Barber Motorsports Park on February 25-26. Piloting the USF2000 Championship racing steeds for the Indiana-based squad in Louisiana will be standouts Michael Epps, Nico Jamin, and Florian Latorre, while Daniel Burkett will join his teammates in Leeds, Ala., with all four focused on starting their 2014 campaigns in winning fashion.

Typically, late February is a time when teams are working in the race shops rebuilding cars for the upcoming season, or potentially doing some off-season testing if they’re situated in the more southern and warmer parts of North America. That, however, is not the case for the USF2000 Championship teams and drivers, as the six-race Winterfest Series is the ideal opportunity to get on-track and back to racing as a means of preparing for the upcoming full championship. Belardi Auto Racing enters the pre-season championship focused on setting a race-winning tone for the 2014 campaign. Given that the team has visited victory lane in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 editions of the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy program, the stage is set to repeat these consistent results, and take them to even higher levels of success.

Michael Epps, a native of England, travels to the 16-turn, 2.75-mile NOLA road course excited about the opportunity to further showcase his talents behind the wheel. Epps joined the Belardi squad midway through last year's campaign and quickly gelled with his talented mechanics and engineers, ultimately securing three top-five finishes. Building on that connection and success, the 21-year-old is poised to be part of the Winterfest championship.

"I'm excited to get back across the pond and in a race seat," commented Epps. "It's amazing how quickly the next season comes about. We have done some valuable testing, and made improvements. It's quite hard to anticipate where we will lie on the timesheets until we all hit the track at NOLA. The new team rivalry is already becoming good fun, and I reckon it's going to be very close at the front. I can see all of us being up there."

French racer Nico Jamin will be making his North American junior formula car racing debut during the Winterfest tripleheader in Louisiana. The 18-year-old may be a newcomer to USF2000 competition, but he has already displayed his pace, turning the third quickest time during the 2013 year-end Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test. The stage is now set for Jamin to immediately be among the front-runners as a rookie.

"I’m so excited that my first USF2000 race is arriving very soon," stated Jamin. "I've prepared myself all the winter for this, and all the staff of Belardi Auto Racing have worked very hard on the car. We are all ready to fight for victories and the title this year. I can’t wait to drive my new car again, and take my first start in the USA."

Latorre gives Belardi Auto Racing an extremely potent line-up to start the 2014 season. The 16-year-old driver from France has his sights set on bettering his strong rookie effort last year, which featured two podium finishes, as well as an additional three top-five results. Joining the race-winning Belardi outfit, Latorre is positioned to part of the Winterfest title fight.

"I am very excited to begin the season with my new team Belardi Auto Racing in the Winterfest Series," added Latorre. "The team has an incredible motivation to do the best this year, and I will do my best to give to the team a lot of podiums and victories."

Joining the action in Alabama, Burkett is keen to continue his progression behind the wheel, and make the most of the experiences learned in 2013. The 17-year-old Canadian showcased good speed and racecraft as a series rookie, earning one top-five and six top-10s. The goal is now take the next step, commencing in the competitive Winter Series.

"I am extremely excited to be racing in the Barber half of the Winterfest Series," stated Burkett. "I believe that my teammates and I are one of the strongest fields of drivers Belardi Auto Racing has assembled. We've worked extremely hard in the off-season to get to the point we're at, and you can look for our cars at the front."

The quest for Cooper Tires Winterfest Series top honors gets underway for Epps, Jamin, and Latorre on Friday morning (February 21) in Louisiana, with a practice run and the lone qualifying session before the lunch break. Round One is scheduled to start at 3:15 pm local time. Rounds Two and Three at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans, take place on Saturday (February 22) at 10:45 am and 3:15 pm. Live timing and scoring will be available at www.usf2000.com/Multimedia/Live.aspx.

Additional information on Belardi Auto Racing can be obtained from their website BelardiAutoRacing.com or by contacting Brian Belardi at 317-456-2816 / belardi@belardiautoracing.com. Keep up to date via Twitter @ Belardi Auto Racing and on Facebook page @ Belardi Auto Racing.


Keep up to date with Daniel Burkett via Twitter @ Daniel Burkett and on Facebook @ Daniel Burkett Racing

Learn more about Michael Epps at MichaelEpps.co.uk and keep up to date via Twitter @ Michael Epps Race and on Facebook @ Michael Epps Racing

Keep up to date with Nico Jamin via Facebook @ Nico Jamin Racing

Learn more about Florian Latorre via Twitter @ FlorianLATORRE and on Facebook @ Florian Latorre Pro

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About Belardi Auto Racing:
Belardi Auto Racing is an organization comprised of experienced individuals in the racing industry with an aggressive growth strategy and a strong commitment to finishing up front. No stranger to winning, team members having been achieving success in both the amateur and pro ranks for over a decade, winning numerous junior formula car races and championships. Based in Brownsburg, Ind., Belardi Auto Racing contests multi-car efforts in both the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series. Goal-oriented and focused on developing the next stars of motorsports, Belardi Auto Racing won in both Indy Lights and USF2000 Championship in 2013.
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