SASKATOON, Sask. – Exclusive Autosport will make their Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda debut in St. Petersburg in two weeks and they’ll hit the ground running with a pair of title contenders under their tent. Last year’s vice-champion Parker Thompson has already been announced in the #90 Exclusive Autosport Open HWY Tatuus USF-17, and the team is now thrilled to release news that they have signed Australian Luke Gabin to campaign the 2017 season behind the wheel of the #91.
Gabin, 21, will begin his third season in the series, coming off a run to fifth in the overall driver’s championship on the strength of 10 top-fives and four podium finishes.
“I am very excited that we have been able to secure Luke Gabin as our second driver in the USF2000 Championship for the 2017 season,” enthused Michael Duncalfe, Exclusive Autosport Team Principal. “Luke has been a strong competitor in his past two years of USF2000 competition and he will no doubt be a threat for the title in 2017. His experience and track knowledge are huge assets to our program. We had the opportunity to test Luke last fall, and we look forward to reuniting him in his #91 Exclusive Autosport AER USF-17 Tatuus in Homestead next week.”
Gabin, who resides in St. Petersburg, Florida during the racing season, has 32 career USF2000 starts in which he has posted 22 top-10 finishes (69%). He finished sixth overall in 2015, fifth overall last year and will now be gunning for the championship, which would provide him with his second Mazdaspeed Driver Development scholarship. Luke won the Skip Barber Championship Shootout in 2014 to earn a scholarship to compete in USF2000 in 2015.
“I’m extremely excited to join the team of Exclusive Autosport, operated by Michael Duncalfe with Jay Green as the crew chief,” Gabin offered. “These leaders make me extremely confident about joining the squad. Having Parker Thompson as a teammate to help me learn from my mistakes is very valuable to me as a driver trying to improve. In 2017, I really hope to capitalize on my successes from 2016, earning more podiums and vying for a championship.”
The team will be back testing at the end of the month at Homestead-Miami Speedway as the USF2000 drivers will take the facility’s road course for official MRTI Spring Training on February 28-March 1. The opening round of the schedule will take place in Gabin’s adopted home town of St. Petersburg, Florida on March 10-12. Like all of the MRTI events in 2017, the action from St. Petersburg will be streamed live throughout the season on the Mazda Road to Indy app or through the MRTI.TV website (www.roadtoindy.tv).
Exclusive Autosport is also very close to confirming their third and final full-time driver for the season and is expecting to make that announcement on Monday. The team is also pleased to be working with Aero™ Advanced Paint Technology (www.rethinkpaint.com) for their car’s liveries.
"We’re absolutely thrilled to be working with Jim and his staff at Aero™ Advanced Paint Technology,” Duncalfe continued. “Their cutting edge, advanced paint technology is incredible. Not only does their product look amazing, but it is incredibly light weight. In an industry where every pound makes a difference, Aero™ was the clear choice. We are proud to have Aero™ Advanced Paint Technology as one of technical partners."
About Exclusive Autosport:
Exclusive Autosport (EA) is a professional racing team dedicated to the success of its drivers in open wheel formula car competition in North America. EA operate teams in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in the United States and the Formula Tour 1600 series in Canada. Exclusive’s drivers have secured numerous race wins, podium finishes and pole positions, as well as Rookie of the Year championships, a Team USA Scholarship and nominations for Team Canada F1600. Exclusive’s drivers are on the podium in over 80% of the races they enter. Exclusive Management Inc., the team’s parent company, has enjoyed great success in both open wheel and sports car racing and has worked with standout drivers like Thomas McGregor, Jack Mitchell Jr., Shelby Blackstock, Gregory Liefooghe, Jayson Clunie, David Levine and Trenton Estep. EM Inc. drivers are highly sought after in the motorsports industry.