Stevan McAleer signs with SMR in F2000
The SMR team has grabbed open-wheel stand-out Stevan McAleer for their #14 Race House entry, owned by Tad Uzzle, for both the Watkins Glen and Lime Rock events. McAleer, from Scotland, brings a host of open-wheel experience to the table and will partner with rookie Tim Paul. Paul is in his first season of F2000 competition, moving over with his SMR team from the sprint car ranks, meanwhile, McAleer has a long resume of open-wheel and karting experience, including both Formula BMW and Skip Barber.
McAleer, who had the opportunity to test the #14 entry two weeks ago at Lime Rock, said: “It was my first time in the car and it went very well The main goal, however, is to focus on Tim (Paul) and stick by him to help him develop. Even though I’m in the second car, the main priority is to get Tim to the front and develop SMR into one of the top F2000 Championship Series teams.”
McAleer started out karting all over Scotland and England when he was 13, winning the Scottish open championship four years in a row. Following that, he ran in various British karting series.
“We did well in the British championships, but ran out of money. It became too expensive. Then, I was just looking through Autosport, when I saw an ad for a scholarship competition,” said McAleer. Long story short, McAleer survived various knock-out rounds of competition and ended up with the grand prize – a Skip Barber Regional Series ride in the United States for 2006.
“It was my first time in a car,” McAleer continued. “I came second in the championship with seven wins in 14 races. The following year I managed to put some sponsorship together for the Skip Barber National Championship and finished fourth in the points.”
“I had enough prize money and had saved money myself to do another year in 2008, but I ended up fifth in the final standings after a lot of bad luck,” added McAleer. Notably, he contested the 2008 Skip Barber season with current F2000 Series stand-outs Victor Carbone and Fabio Orsolon, and was coached by Phil Lombardi, who sits third in F2000 points.
McAleer will drive the #14 Race Houst entry for SMR. (click for high-res). (photo: Janice Eakin).
In 2009, McAleer went through another scholarship competition to end up being one of 10 finalists for a Formula BMW ride, getting the opportunity to test with Raikkonen Robertson Racing.
Comparing the F2000 car to the FBMW package, McAleer commented: “I was surprised by how quick the F2000 car is. It feels quicker than the BMW which has more mechanical grip, but the downforce levels the F2000 car produces are pretty insane.”
SMR had originally brought McAleer in as a driver coach to Tim Paul at the start of the season, but now McAleer will have the opportunity to race alongside Paul.
“I’ve been working with and have known Tim since I moved here permanently about 14 months ago. I knew he had a sprint car background, but then I found out they were getting into the F2000 Series, and we’d been good friends throughout. They asked me to be his coach for the year so I said absolutely.
“We had a good time at VIR; it was a positive weekend; and the same with Road Atlanta, which was the first time we felt we could really push the cars. As far as getting into the car, I guess it just came about, we were sitting at dinner one night and Tad (Uzzle) brought up whether I wanted to get in the car and I wasn’t about to say no.”