The Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Corsa Car Care will conduct into its eighth season of competition in 2011 with a lineup of 12 races held over six weekends on West Coast road course venues.
Pacific F2000 has provided the launching pad for the careers of several talented young drivers since its inception in 2004. Included among them are 2005 champion Mike Forest, who is now a contender in the Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series for Daytona Prototype cars; 2005 Rookie of the Year J.R. Hildebrand, who won the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights Championship and will drive the National Guard car in this year's IZOD IndyCar Series; and Jason Bowles, who won the 2011 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway and finished fifth on his ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards debut earlier this month at Daytona.
"I am very proud of what some of our drivers have achieved since racing with us in Pacific F2000," says series principal Les Phillips. "We have a good mix of seasoned racers who compete for fun and ambitious youngsters who are aiming to make a career out of the sport.
"There's no question our numbers have been down the past couple of years, due to the tough economic climate, but our series continues to provide an opportunity for drivers to compete on a semi-professional level in some very sophisticated open-wheel racecars and at a modest cost. I truly believe Pacific F2000 offers some of the best value for money in all of racing."
As usual, this year's field will feature some returning veterans, including Ira Fierberg who took his Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen to a well-deserved maiden win last year at Buttonwillow, as well as some precocious potential stars of the future. Prime among them is likely to be 14-year-old Conner Ford, who made a sensational debut at Willow Springs last year, posting fastest lap of the race in his very first start – at the tender age of 13 – and adding an impressive victory the following day after starting third in his PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen.
F2000 is regarded as the first rung on the professional open-wheel racing ladder in North America. The concept originated in England in 1974 and has helped spawn the careers of many of the sport's top names, including Formula 1 World Champions Ayrton Senna and Damon Hill. It has been equally productive in North America, producing such alumni as Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Sam Hornish Jr., Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon.
The single-seat, open-wheel Pacific F2000 cars are powered by 2-liter Ford Zetec engines and are capable of speeds in excess of 140mph. All cars will continue to run on Hankook tires, which will be supplied by Sierra Tire.
VP Racing fuels also will be an official provider for the series, along with returning sponsors Corsa Car Care, Porterfield Brakes, Wine Country Motorsports and Buttonwillow Raceway.
Each race weekend will comprise an unofficial practice as well as two official qualifying sessions and two 30-minute races.
2011 Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Corsa Car Care
Dates: Venue: Sanctioned by:
April 2/3 Willow Springs, Rosamond, Calif. VARA
May 21/22 Buttonwillow Raceway, Buttonwillow, Calif. Cal Club SCCA
June 11/12 Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif. Cal Club SCCA
Sept. 3/4 Buttonwillow Raceway, Buttonwillow, Calif. Cal Club SCCA
Sept. 24/25 Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, Calif. NASA
Oct. 7-9 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev. VARA