Newgarden to take on Europe
The ’08 racing season was a incredibly successful development year for rising American open-wheel standout Josef Newgarden, filled with exciting on-track battles, regular success and some positive opportunities. In an effort continue pursuing his dream of a Formula 1 career, Newgarden has confirmed that he will be making the move to Europe in 2009. The talented young driver from Tennessee will contest the entire 25-race British Formula Ford Championship this coming season, driving with series front-runners and former Formula Ford Festival winner Joe Tandy Racing.
"Moving to the UK on a full-time basis this year is going to be a real challenge, but I have already spent a few months here and have made some great friends and connections," stated Newgarden, from his new home base. “Now that I’ve signed with Joe Tandy Racing, I’m ready for my next hurdle en route to one day competing in the F1. Although I will not underestimate any of my competition, I know I am up to the challenge. I can’t wait to continue testing ahead of the season-opener in mid-April."
Newgarden has relocated to England and will make his British Formula Ford Championship debut in 2009, having already impressed many with his skills behind the wheel of a Formula Ford. As a member of the prestigious Team USA Scholarship program, the teenager became the first American to win the famed year-end Formula Ford Festival, when he took home the Kent class honors at the Brands Hatch Circuit in England this past fall. Following a strong run in the renowned Walter Hayes Trophy a few weeks later, Newgarden attracted the attention of many of the leading Formula Ford teams in the United Kingdom. After testing with selected teams, Newgarden has reached an agreement with Joe Tandy Racing to race in the 2009 British Formula Ford Championship behind the wheel of Robo-Pong backed Duratec-powered Mygale. As part of a multi-car effort, the American will partner Dutch rookie Liroy Stuart at JTR. In addition to the full Formula Ford campaign, Newgarden will take part in the 2009 Formula Ford Festival in the Duratec class, as well as test the team’s British Formula 3 International Series Mygale.
Like many talent up-and-coming drivers, Newgarden enters the 2009 season having previously found success in the karting and junior formula car ranks. The now 18 year-old first commenced racing in 2005 behind the wheel of a kart. Immediately showing great pace, Newgarden quickly established himself as race winning driver. The following season, he captured his first series titles, taking home the Kart Racers of America crowns in both the Junior 1 and Junior 2 classes. While continuing to run selected karting events, 2007 marked Newgarden’s move to the car racing. Competing in Skip Barber Racing action, he scored five wins en route to second in the Southern Regional Series and sixth in the National series. This past season, he truly made his mark in the junior formula car ranks. Returning to the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented by Mazda series, he won three races, stood on the podium on five occasions and started from the pole position a series-high six times en route to narrow second place in the title fight. As a result of this performance, he was then selected as member of the Team USA Scholarship. Traveling to England in the fall, Newgarden made history when he captured the Kent class win in the historic Formula Ford Festival, having started from the pole position and posted the fastest lap in his Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray GRS07/08. Two weeks later, the American was again one of the drivers to beat in the 100+ field at the Walter Hayes Trophy, before eventually finishing 14th following a late race incident.
Operated by 2005 Formula Palmer Audi Champion Joe Tandy, JTR is widely regarded as one of the leading teams in the British Formula Ford Championship. First taking part in the series in 2006 with Nick Tandy behind the wheel, the Bedford-based team has won nine races thus far, finishing as the series runner-up in its inaugural season. Last year, the two-car team captured three podium finishes and two pole positions. In addition to competing in the British Formula Ford Championship, the 2007 Formula Ford Festival Duratec class winners, raced in the British Formula 3 International Series last season, scoring three podium finishes in the Mygale M-08F3 chassis.
Newgarden and the entire Joe Tandy Racing staff will continue preparations for the 2009 campaign over the coming weeks via additional private testing. The 2009 British Formula Ford Championship commences on Easter weekend (April 12-13), with the opening rounds at the Oulton Park Circuit in Cheshire.