Palmetto, Fla. – There’s no doubt who has been the fastest driver in this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Florian Latorre has started from the pole position in eight out of 10 races since joining Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing in time for Rounds 3 and 4 at Barber Motorsports Park, Ala., in April. The French teenager has converted only two of those poles into race wins but has added four second-place results and finished no lower than sixth to take a commanding 30-point lead in the championship over teammate Jake Eidson, 277-247, prior to this week’s season finale double-header at the USF2000 Grand Prix of Sonoma.
Two more solid results for the 17-year-old from Libourne, France, should be enough to clinch the championship – a remarkable fourth straight for the Cape brothers, Dominic and Nicholas, who also guided Petri Suvanto, Matthew Brabham and Scott Hargrove to top honors from 2011 to 2013 and clinched the Team Championship at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Three Points Separate Eidson and Enerson
As many as 65 points remain up for grabs from the pair of races at the 2.385-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course in Sonoma, Calif., and both Eidson, 19, from Littleton, Colo., and RC Enerson (Team E Racing), 17, from New Port Richey, Fla., who lies just three points further in arrears, are still harboring championship aspirations of their own. The stakes are high with a MAZDASPEED Driver Development Scholarship, plus other incentives, totaling $375,000 on offer to the series champion to assist in graduating to the next step on the highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy ladder, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, in 2015.
Enerson has won a series-high four races while Eidson, with two wins, has been more consistent, finishing every race among the top 10.
Telitz and Franzoni Still Squabbling over Top Rookie Honors
Aaron Telitz, from Birchwood, Wis., holds third place after 12 races on 202 points. Telitz, who drives for ArmsUp Motorsports, also leads the Rookie of the Year standings by 17 points over Afterburner Autosport’s Brazilian hot-shoe Victor Franzoni. Both have one race win to their name.
Fellow rookies Adrian Starrantino (JAY Motorsports), from Santa Paula, Calif., and Will Owen (Pabst Racing), from Castle Rock, Colo., also have race wins to their credit.
No fewer than 11 different drivers have earned podium finishes so far this season, while six different teams have shared the spoils of victory.
The Weekend Schedule
The 21-strong USF2000 field will have two 45-minute opportunities to learn the track during a promoter test day on Thursday, August 21. The official proceedings will commence with practice from 8:15-8:45 a.m. on Friday, followed by qualifying from 11:45-12:15 and then the first of two races at 3:20 p.m. Race Two, the season finale, will start at 11:05 a.m. on Saturday, August 23. All are Pacific Time. Live commentary, plus timing and scoring, for all on-track sessions will be available on the series website, www.usf2000.com.
Season-Ending Banquet Set for Sunday Evening
All three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy will celebrate the season with a banquet to be held at the Jacuzzi Family Winery, close to Sonoma Raceway, on Sunday evening. A total of more than $2 million in prizes will be distributed.
With Cape Motorsports locking up the Team Championship, ArmsUp Motorsports and Team E Racing are battling for runner-up honors with 13 points separating the two, 199-186 respectively.