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Team USA Scholarship drivers Neil Alberico and Trent Hindman have enjoyed a busy week of factory visits and testing and are now ready to get back to what they do best: racing. They have some big shoes to fill, but both teenagers are confident they can challenge for victory in this weekend's Walter Hayes Trophy Formula Ford meet at Silverstone and follow in the footsteps of Conor Daly, who took top honors for Team USA and Cliff Dempsey Racing in 2008, and Connor De Phillippi, who took the checkered flag in 2009.
Alberico, 19, from Los Gatos, Calif., spent some time in Ireland, attending the wedding of Cliff and Michelle Dempsey's oldest son, Keith, during the two-week break since the Formula Ford Festival, while 16-year-old Hindman traveled home to Wayside, N.J., to catch up with his school work. Since Hindman returned to the UK on Monday, the pair have enjoyed visits to the Jaguar Cars road car factory in Birmingham, the McLaren Technology Center, home of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team, and Lola Cars, one of the world's leading race car manufacturers, as well as Superleague Formula championship team Alan Docking Racing.
“My week has been absolutely incredible,” exclaims Hindman. “After visiting Jaguar, McLaren and then Lola I was absolutely stunned at what people will do to produce the best product/results. These tours will definitely be things I will never forget. To top it all off, Silverstone is an incredible track, too! I love coming to these Grand Prix tracks; they are just great courses to drive on.”
Alberico and Hindman have tested their Team USA Scholarship/Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray GR07/08 chassis on the Silverstone National circuit the past two days, and although inclement weather has interrupted their plans, both youngsters feel good about their prospects going into the weekend.
“The weather this weekend is mad,” says Hindman. “It's all over the place, but that's something that we just have to deal with. I had a bit of trouble in this morning's wet practice session, but other than that it's been great!”
“Weather is not an issue at all,” asserts Alberico. “At the end of the day everyone will be racing with the same conditions. I'm comfortable in both wet and dry conditions, to be honest. We have been testing both Thursday and Friday in wet/damp conditions, and if I were to choose I would prefer the wet!”
Needless to say, neither of the Americans is under any illusions as to the challenges that lie ahead.
“The quick guys from the (Formula Ford) Festival (two weeks ago at Brands Hatch) are the same quick guys here at the WHT,” says Alberico. “The only difference is that there are 95 entries here at Silverstone! As long as we keep our heads down and work hard we should have a good shot at top honors for the weekend.”
“Going into the weekend, my goal is to improve on my results from the Festival while still learning as much as possible,” adds Hindman. “I learned at Brands that making it through your heat races is absolutely the key if you want a chance of winning, so my goal is to just finish in the top three in each heat race.”