Pacific F2000 Championship Kicks Off
Buttonwillow, Calif. -- The 2007 Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Hankook Tires gets underway March 9-11 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The weekend will comprise a pair of 30-minute races as part of the Vintage Auto Racing Association’s Route 66 Formula Festival.
The Pacific F2000 Championship Series is entering its 4th year of competition. Each season more and more drivers and teams come to compete in this cost-effective series. Pacific F2000 has been recognized from all charts of the globe and has been considered by many to be the ideal next step after karting into open-wheel racing.
Champ Car Atlantic and Pacific F2000 team owner Bobby Oergel of PR1 Motorsports has competed in the Pacific F2000 series since its inception in 2004. The team has won multiple championships in F2000 competition including back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005. Both of PR1’s current Champ Car Atlantic drivers, Jonathan Bomarito and Mike Forest, are former F2000 champions.
“From my perspective Pacific F2000 is an excellent first step after karts, with a stable rules package and quality equipment,” says Oergel. “It is the best value in the U.S. and provides a great platform from which the drivers can learn.”
Patrick Barrett made his debut in the Pacific F2000 series last year and made an immediate impression. The 2006 SCCA Formula Russell Champion and Rookie of the Year earned two wins in his Pacific F2000 debut at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and added two more podium finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 17-year-old Californian has signed with PR1 Motorsports for the 2007 season.
“I’ve learned a lot working with Bobby and the team this winter. I’m definitely looking forward to a competitive season,” says Barrett.
New Zealander Mitch Cunningham hopes to find success in the United Sates, much like his older bother, 2005 Indy Pro Series champion Wade Cunningham. The 20-year-old from Auckland, NZ brings over 12 years of karting experience to Dave Freitas Racing for his first year of open-wheel action.
“I’m very excited to be racing in Pacific F2000 with Dave Freitas Racing,” says Cunningham. “Going into my first car race at California Speedway will be a terrific learning experience that I hope to build on throughout the year.”
Dave Freitas will be seeking a second consecutive championship with his strong driver lineup.
“As the Pacific F2000 series gains notoriety, it is nice to see new teams and drivers for 2007,” says Freitas, who won the championship last year with Robert Podlesni. “I’m pleased to have veteran drivers Peter Hastrup and Ira Fierberg in addition to an exciting young rookie Mitch Cunningham as part of Dave Freitas Racing for 2007.”
Pacific F2000 Championship organizer Les Phillips, who established the series in 2004, has great expectations for the series this year: “We are expecting 25 cars for our first race at Fontana represented by seven fully professional teams plus several private entrants. Many of the drivers and teams have been testing at Buttonwillow Raceway and other tracks over the winter and I expect the first race of our 12-race series to be deep and competitive from the very start.
“The Champion of Pacific F2000 for 2007 will certainly earn the title as the competition is going to be intense,” continues Phillips. “With the success in Europe of our 2006 Champion Robert Podlesni and 2005 entrant Dane Cameron, young drivers from as far as New Zealand are recognizing the value of Pacific F2000. Pacific F2000 is fast becoming the logical training step to Champ Car's Formula Atlantic series.”
The Pacific F2000 Championship features modern, purpose-built, single-seat, open-wheel race cars powered by either four-cylinder, double-overhead cam, fuel-injected 2.0-liter Ford Zetec engines or the slightly older, carbureted, 2.0-liter Ford Pinto “National” engines, both of which produce around 150 horsepower. The cars weigh in at just 1,190 lbs, employ “slick” (treadless) Hankook racing tires and are capable of speeds in excess of 140mph.