Western Suburbs Weekly - - Drive Way - Bill Buys

A PODIUM spot in his first day of rac­ing in the US. That’s what 19-year-old An­thony Martin achieved at the wheel of a USF2000 racer.

It’s a class new to the unas­sum­ing Banksia Grove driver who also had to cope with dif­fer­ent rules and fiercer com­pe­ti­tion than at Barba­gallo Race­way.

Martin, who won the 2013 WA For­mula Ford ti­tle in his rookie year, was a few weeks ago signed by John Cum­miskey Rac­ing, one of the top teams in the USF2000 se­ries.

Un­like the familiar For­mula Fords, the USF2000 cars use Mazda MZR 2.0-litre en­gines and run on slick tyres and have aero­dy­namic wings.

“It wasn’t so dif­fi­cult to ad­just to the new, more pow­er­ful car, just dif­fer­ent,” Martin said af­ter his US de­but race at the Nola Mo­tor­sport Park in New Or­leans.

“With down­force and the sticky tyres it’s a lot dif­fer­ent be­cause of the amount of grip in the cor­ners. I had never driven a ‘wings and slicks’ car be­fore, so it was all to­tally new to me but I adapted to it re­ally well.”

His day in New Or­leans started well, with him qual­i­fy­ing eighth in a field of 19 and fin­ish­ing fifth.

He set the fourth fastest lap time, which put him fourth on the start­ing grid for the sec­ond heat, but elec­tri­cal grem­lins hit the JCR car and it ended up run­ning on only two cylin­ders.

But things im­proved again in the fi­nal race of the day, where Martin, now based at In­di­anapo­lis, got on to the podium with a stunning drive that took him from eighth on the grid to third.

“My team­mate and I were the high­est rank­ing rook­ies of the race meet­ing and to be fin­ish­ing in front of ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers, who have been rac­ing this class for over two years, is some­thing that I’m proud of,” he said.

“The race for­mat here is a lot dif­fer­ent than what I am used to, with a lot more laps in the races and a lot more prac­tice time as well. And the race rules are harsher than what we have in Australia.”

Proud­est par­ent there was Martin’s mother, Lee-Anne. “I’m thrilled to bits,”she said.

Martin’s next race is at the Bar­ber Mo­tor­sport Park in Birm­ing­ham, Alabama.

Perth's An­thony Martin on his way to third place in a USF2000 race in New Or­leans re­cently.

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