BUCKINGHAM, England – Hot on the heels of a sensational victory in Sunday’s Walter Hayes Trophy Formula Ford extravaganza at Silverstone, the Team USA Scholarship will proudly add another string to its bow later this week when two talented young American drivers will have an opportunity to test a Formula 3 Dallara-Mercedes for Double R Racing at Pembrey Circuit, a renowned 1.456-mile test track situated near Llanelli in south Wales.
Spencer Pigot, 19, from Orlando, Fla., who earned Team USA Scholarships both in 2010 and 2011, will be joined by 2012 candidate Sean Johnston, 21, from Mt. Shasta, Calif., who dominated this year’s IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge – in his very first season of racing – and also impressed during the Team USA Scholarship shootout at California’s Auto Club Speedway aboard Allen Berg Racing School FR1600 cars in September.
“This is an exciting addition to the Team USA Scholarship agenda,” said scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw. “An F3 car is a ‘real’ racing car which produces a massive amount of downforce, and Double R Racing is one of the top exponents in the category. I am very grateful to Double R Team Principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt for making this possible for Spencer and Sean, both of whom have displayed tremendous potential and are ready to step up into more potent cars.”
The Team USA Scholarship has been providing opportunities for rising U.S. stars since 1990 when Jimmy Vasser was the first scholarship recipient. Subsequent winners have included fellow current IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Bryan Herta, 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice, Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Phil Giebler, current INDYCAR drivers Charlie Kimball, J.R. Hildebrand and Josef Newgarden, NASCAR Sprint Cup regular A.J. Allmendinger and sports car standouts Andy Lally, Paul Edwards, Memo Gidley, Bryan Sellers and Dane Cameron.
“I am looking forward to testing some of the talent brought over by Team USA,” said Hieatt. “I have been following what Jeremy Shaw has done with the Team USA Scholarship for many years and am very pleased to be involved. We aim through FOTA (an association of Formula 3 teams) to make this test happen on an annual basis and thus spread the word about the F3 National class, which employs truly great cars that don’t cost the earth to drive. I am sure the drivers will really enjoy the day and gain some tremendous ‘downforce’ experience which will help them as they progress along the racing ladder.”
Pigot and Johnston hail from disparate backgrounds but have displayed the qualities both in and out of the car which suggest they have bright futures in the sport. Pigot, who finished a close second in this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powdered by Mazda, winning eight of the season’s 14 races, hopes to move up the Mazda Road to Indy and into the Star Mazda Championship in 2013 with his eyes firmly focused on a future in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Johnston, meanwhile, after winning seven out of 14 races as a rookie in the Porsche GT3 Cup series, is looking toward a future in sports car racing
“I’m really looking forward to driving an F3 car with Double R Racing,” said Pigot. “I’ve always followed Formula 3 racing and am so excited about being able to drive one. It’s fantastic to be involved with the Team USA Scholarship for a third year; it’s been a great program for me. I can’t thank Jeremy Shaw and all the supporters enough for the opportunities.”
“It’s been an honor to be involved with the Team USA Scholarship this year, and to get the opportunity to test an F3 just makes this season even more special for me,” added Johnston. “I’m grateful to get this chance as my dream is to race prototypes at Le Mans and I know that the experience gained in the high downforce F3 car will certainly benefit my career. I’m looking forward to getting out on track.”