Darryl Wills is Crowned 2011 Formula Mazda National Champion at Go Pro FCC presented by Goodyear National Championship
September 10th, 2011
This past weekend was the 2011 GoPro Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear National Championship which allowed competitors from all over the country to battle for the most coveted title in NASA Pro Racing. More than 380 cars from all across the United States in a large variety of classes, ranging from Mazda Miatas to fire-breathing Corvettes, stock cars, and blindingly fast formula cars converged on Mid Ohio Sportscar Course to determine who would be the best of the best.
In the Formula Mazda class Darryl Wills was crowned National Champion after a three race battle. "The racers start off the weekend qualifying and racing in two heat races," stated Series Official Ben Hettema. "The points accumulated from the heat races determine their starting position for the championship event." In race one Wills took the top spot on the podium followed by Doug Peterson, and Zac Silver. In the second race Peterson took the win followed by 2010 NASA FM Champion Alan McCallum and Zac Silver.
On Saturday, when it was time for the NASA Championship deciding race, the conditions were overcast and wet. Front row starters Douglas Peterson, and Darryl Wills, raced to the first corner, neither would give and both ended up spinning off. Wills drove back through the field for the win, while Zac Silver gave chase and finished second. Doug Peterson ran a strong race and finished in third.
"I was on the outside of Doug for the start," Wills said. "It was a game of who was going to let off the gas first. I knew we were both in too hot. As soon as I got off of the throttle it was damage control the whole way. We both got in there. I got around Doug clean and got way-laid. I recovered and pedaled it hard to run back up and take the lead. Then it was tire management as we were on rains with a drying track. I was searching for water."
"It was a great race," Silver said. "We had to start out on rains. The track started to dry in the middle of the race. It turned technical as you had to know where to drive the car. We had to make the tires last."
"That was a pretty good race," Peterson said. "I started out on the pole and had a little issue in Turn One, got spun around went to the back and had to work my way back up. To do that I had to cook my tires. I just didn't have the right set-up on the car. I am happy with that, I am 61 with four grandchildren. These are a bunch of young guys."
"Doug is right," added FCC Series Official Ben Hettema. "There are some very young up and coming drivers in the field, but the veterans did win all three races this weekend so there is something to be said for experience over exuberance." Zac Silver, who finished on the podium in all three races is the youngest driver to ever win a national race event. He won a race in the FM class at Blackhawk Farms this past May at the age of 15.
Mazdaspeed allocated close to $30,000 in prize money for this event, and also invited the FM National Champion to participate in the MAZDASPEED MX5 Shootout where they will be evaluated in a wide variety of categories including lap speed consistency, technical feedback, and business and PR skills. The winner of the shootout will be awarded a free season in the 2012 SCCA Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup.
"In the racing world, speed is critical, but the intention of this program is to see who has the other business talents and communication skills necessary to succeed in motorsports long-term. Our three previous winners all proved themselves beyond a shadow of a doubt on the pro level. Our intention is to help support the next up-and-coming talent," noted Steve Sanders, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Competition Manager. "We are so grateful to MAZDASPEED and Mazda USA for seeing the value in the Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear," added Ben Hettema.
This was the second year that the FCC was invited to the NASA Championships. "We are already working on the 2012 event, and plan to be here again next season," noted one of the series promoters.
Up next for the Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear is the FCC Winter Series which opens at Infineon Raceway on November 12th. The FCC Winter Series is 5 races over 2 weekends and is open to Pro FM, FM, and FS2.0 drivers.
GoPro, the event's title sponsor, is producing a short feature covering this event that will be posted to the FCC and GoPro websites in a few weeks. The Speedcast coverage of the entire race is available online for on demand re-broadcast thanks to NASA Pro Racing. GoRacingTV also covered the event and interviewed Darryl Wills post race.
GoPro provided some great products to the FCC racers at this event. The Championship podium drivers all received a GoPro Motorsports HERO camera and the new GoPro LCD BacPac. The same prize was also given to the hard charger in each race.
- GoPro Hard Charger Award Race 1 - Doug Peterson
- GoPro Hard Charger Award Race 2 - Steve Jenks
- GoPro Hard Charger Award Race 3 - Stuart Rettie
GOODYEAR TIRE AWARDS:
Competitors are awarded free Goodyear racing tires in a random drawing at every event. Winners at this event were: Austin Newmark, Eric Barrett, Jeff Diffenderfer, Steve Jenks, and Court Dowis.
The FCC is now the most popular junior open wheel series on Facebook
With over 2500 fans on Facebook the series has become the most popular junior open wheel series on the internet.
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About The Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear:
The Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear is a regionalized open wheel racing series with an annual national championship. There are multiple regions across the country, and each region has unique features and events.
Once a year the regions meet for the NASA National Championships. The championship features a multi-class format -Formula Mazda (FM), Pro Formula Mazda (PFM), and the FormulaSPEED2.0 (FS2.0). All classes are powered by Mazda, and equipped with Goodyear Racing tires.
Each region is supported by a Region Promoter who is well versed in racing, and who can provide assistance to teams and independent drivers.
The series is partnered with Goodyear, Mazda USA, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, Red Line Oil, GoPro and NASA Pro Racing.