Dreams hitting top gear
PERTH DRIVER HEADING TO US
ANOTHER Perth racing driver is poised to hit the big time in motor racing 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-seat 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 drivers 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.
But 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.
“All going well, I hope to progress to Indy Lights in a couple of years, and then on to Indycars.”
Team owner John Cummiskey, himself an Indycar veteran, was full of praise for Anthony.
“We are very excited to have him join us for the 2015 season,” he said.
“He did a great job and worked really well with our engineer, Louis D’Agostino, when he tested with us at New Orleans in December.
“He will be a great addition to the team and series.”
Proud mum Lee-Ann will go along to Indianapolis to help set up a unit for her fastmoving son and stay on to watch him in his first two races.