Young gun signed to US team

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Sport - Bill Buys

AN­OTHER Perth rac­ing driver is poised to hit the big time, with the re­spected John Cum­miskey Rac­ing (JCR) team an­nounc­ing it has signed An­thony Martin for the 2015 USF2000 Cham­pi­onship sea­son.

While Daniel Ric­cia­rdo has al­ready es­tab­lished him­self in For­mula One, An­thony Martin is fo­cus­ing on Indycars, which have sim­i­lar sta­tus in the US.

The af­fa­ble 19-year-old from Banksia Grove has had a mer­cu­rial rise in mo­tor­sport.

He started in karts in Kal­go­or­lie, quickly be­came club, state and na­tional cham­pion in 2012, then moved with his fam­ily to Perth to ex­pand on his tal­ents, seam­lessly moved into For­mula Ford, and achieved the near-im­pos­si­ble by win­ning the state ti­tle in 2013, his first year in that class.

His suc­cess led to an in­vi­ta­tion to test for a top team in USF2000, a highly com­pet­i­tive cat­e­gory in the US, fea­tur­ing Mazda-pow­ered sin­gle-seater rac­ers.

He went to the US in De­cem­ber, drove a JCR car at the new Nola cir­cuit in New Or­leans, and ended up set­ting the fastest time of the day.

“The team is very happy with how I per­formed and it was even bet­ter to fin­ish the day 3/10ths (of a sec­ond) ahead of any­one on the cir­cuit on a new tyre run,” he posted at the time.

USF2000 is the first of­fi­cial step on the Road to Indy.

It’s a sys­tem which of­fers dri- vers an op­por­tu­nity to progress from USF2000 to the famed Indy­Car Se­ries.

But mo­tor­sport is a very ex­pen­sive busi­ness and with­out spon­sor­ship, An­thony’s dream would have re­mained just that.

How­ever, af­ter weeks of ne­go­ti­a­tions, a backer was found, not in the US, but much closer to home.

An­thony started his rac­ing ca­reer in Kal­go­or­lie, and a lo­cal com­pany, Burgess Laser Align­ing, has backed the young driver.

An­thony leaves for In­di­anapo­lis, where his team is based, in early Fe­bru­ary, with his first race sched­uled for Fe­bru­ary 19.

“For­tu­nately, it will be at the Nola cir­cuit, which I now know very well,” An­thony said.

“I have a great car too. The John Cum­miskey Team is very pro­fes­sional and the car they’ve set up for me, num­ber 33, is im­mac­u­late, a re­ally good piece of equip­ment.”

With fields of up to 25 cars in the fiercely con­tested US events, An­thony hopes to launch his rac­ing ca­reer there with top-15 re­sults and im­prove as the sea­son con­tin­ues.

“I hope I can get a podium spot in my first year, but it will be my rookie year in this class and there are lots of driv­ers who al­ready have two, three or more years ex­pe­ri­ence and know all the other cir­cuits pretty well. So it will be tough go­ing, but I’m con­fi­dent I’ll get there.”

An­thony Martin will race for the re­spected John Cum­miskey Rac­ing team in the 2015 USF2000 Cham­pi­onship sea­son.

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