Birmingham, Ala. – Karting veteran Darren Keane will make his debut in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda with Benik Motorsport this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park as the rising talent continues his progression from karting to the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series.
A Boca Raton native, Keane found his passion for motorsports early on, and despite his youth, has extensive experience having spent much of his childhood racing in the karting ranks. While Keane found success karting in the United States, he also spent three seasons racing abroad in Europe, which furthered his passion for the sport.
Keane won the Florida Winter Tour in 2012, and was 9th in the European Championship in 2013. In 2015, he took on the world championship and came home 14th in the championship. Keane’s accomplishments in karts helped him step up to the USF2000 Championship and he has joined Florida-based Benik Motorsport. Entering his first USF2000 race weekend, Keane is optimistic and has found comfort in the fact that he is competing against some familiar faces.
“I have competed against some of the other guys in USF2000 while we were racing karts, and they are really fast in this car,” said Keane. “I know they have been driving cars longer than I have but I believe that I can continue to learn, gain experience, and develop my craft to get to their level.”
The Mazda Road to Indy is an IndyCar sanctioned series providing a three-step ladder for racers to strategically make their way up to the premier league of American Racing. USF2000 is the first level of the feeder series, providing a competitive training ground for many racers making their transition from karts to cars. The series is utilizing all-new machines this season, employing the latest in technology from the carbon fiber tub to the paddle shifting gearbox.
Rounds 3 & 4 of the USF2000 season held at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend is a field comprised of 24 talented young-guns looking to shine in front of the IndyCar fanbase this weekend during the Grand Prix of Alabama event. Keane will have the opportunity to race under the watchful eye of IndyCar teams and drivers giving him the opportunity to gain the exposure to further his career.
Looking ahead to his first race weekend, Keane has set goals for himself and he plans to enjoy the moment as he aims to make the best out of his debut open-wheel event.
“I know I can be fast,” said Keane. “I’m just trying to have fun and learn a lot. I would be really happy to come out of the weekend with a top-10. I have a lot to learn and it’s been fun driving the track in testing. Hopefully I can continue to just run clean and consistent laps and have a couple of good races here at Barber.”
Keane’s sense of humble modesty is a quality which his team and driver coach, Ozz Negri, feels will get him far, not only through the first weekend but through his future races this year.