USF2000: Anderson Ready for Start of 2012 Season
After several down years of the best and brightest of America’s racing talent heading to the greener pastures of NASCAR, open-wheel racing is seeing a renaissance of sorts in its junior ranks, as drivers see a clearly defined path, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Josef Newgarden, to the IZOD IndyCar Series.
One racer looking to parlay junior formula racing success into a spot in a future starting field for the Indianapolis 500 is 2011 Skip Barber National Champion Scott Anderson.
At 22 years of age, the Fort Collins, Colo. native hasn’t followed what has become the standard path to a professional racing career. By the time an aspiring professional racer first sits in a race car, they will have several years of experience in karting; often starting as early as seven or eight years old. Anderson’s path has been less traditional; starting with competitive skiing before deciding that racing was where he wanted to be.
“My interest in cars and racing began when I started going to the track with my dad when he was racing in SCCA,” said Anderson. “I started racing karts locally and though at one time I was looking at a career in skiing, once I attended a Skip Barber Racing School and got a taste of that, I knew racing was where I needed to be.”
In the past 18 months, Anderson has amassed an enviable track record. In 72 race starts, he has 25 wins, 19 pole positions and 51 podium finishes. The important wins were the six he claimed on his way to collecting the 2011 Skip Barber National Championship and a scholarship from MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, the North American racing arm of car maker Mazda, to compete in USF2000.
The move up from an “arrive and drive” race series like the Skip Barber National to a team-based series like USF2000 brings many new challenges for Anderson; a new car with higher performance, working with an engineer on car setup, and new venues, including his first ever oval race. The season also brings a bit of familiarity, as Anderson has racing experience at half of the tracks on the schedule, and with many of the drivers in the 2012 field.
“Of the 19 drivers currently registered for the 2012 season, I’ve raced nine of them at one point or another in the last year or two. Knowing who you are going wheel-to-wheel with is a bit of a comfort. Knowing that I’ve beaten them all in the last year or two helps my confidence going into the season.”
Last December, Anderson signed with Indianapolis, Ind., based Belardi Auto Racing for the 2012 season, joining a four-car effort with teammates Luca Forgeois, Roman Lagudi and Colin Thompson. In preparation for the season, Anderson participated in several private testing sessions before the team headed down to Florida for the annual USF2000 Cooper Tires Winterfest; a six-race mini championship run the first week in February. After a strong first race netted him a fourth place finish, a series of mechanical and setup gremlins relegated him to mid-pack finishes for the remainder of the series.
“We found out a few things about the car and worked out some bugs. While the results weren’t what we were hoping for, it was better that the problems popped up when we were racing for pride than during the regular season where every point is valuable. We will get the teething issues ironed out and we will be ready to go in a few weeks at Sebring.”
The 2012 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda kicks off March 15-16, at Sebring International Raceway for Rounds One and Two of the season. The on-track schedule will be forthcoming. Live timing and scoring will be available at http://www.usf2000.com Follow the action semi-live at http://www.twitter.com/altemus_prime
Fort Collins, Colo. native Anderson joins the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development ladder after winning the 2011 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda and will race in the 2012 Cooper USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda with Belardi Auto Racing. Anderson would like to thank MAZDAPSEED Motorsports Development, Skip Barber Racing School, Laser Nail Centers of Colorado, Neuropathy Testing Centers and Altemus Prime Communications for their support. This season Anderson is working with Jonatan Jorge Racing Development, and is looking forward to being coached by Jonatan Jorge.
Away from the track, Anderson resides and attends college in Fort Collins, Colo. Learn more about Scott Anderson at http://www.scottandersonracing.com
Drivers today have a clearly defined ladder system as they aspire to reach the top echelons of the sport and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda represents the first official step on the Mazda Road to Indy. Sanctioned by INDYCAR, the series provides a vital training ground for rising stars in addition to a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to Star Mazda, the next rung on the ladder. While debuting a new generation in 2010, the series boasts a rich history as a revival of the highly regarded national USF2000 series. which ran from 1990 through 2006, launching the careers of many of today’s top drivers. It is also part of the prestigious MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder with the top driver in the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda advancing to the series. A total of 16 races blending ovals, street circuits and permanent road course events ensures the perfect balance to properly train drivers for success as they advance to the higher levels. Learn more about the USF2000 Championship at http://www.usf2000.com