Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway - Bill Buys

AN­THONY Martin will soon face his big­gest chal­lenge yet when he lines up on the start­ing grid in Florida, in a cur­tain raiser to the St Peters­burg Indy­car Grand Prix.

He will be seen by a crowd of more than 160,000 when he drives in the USF2000 event on the same pro­gram as the March 28 and 29 Indy­car GP meet­ing, one of the big­gest mo­tor­sport events in the US.

But the 19-year-old Banksia Grove racer should do well: he has al­ready scored podium spots in his first two events, greatly ex­ceed­ing ex­pec­ta­tions.

Be­fore leav­ing Perth to drive for the highly-re­garded John Cum­miskey Rac­ing team, he said he was hop­ing for “top 15” fin­ishes in his first year in the US.

In­stead, he fin­ished third at New Or­leans and last week re­peated that per­for­mance at Birm­ing­ham, Alabama.

“Two podi­ums in two events! I couldn't be hap­pier, and it was a great race,” he en­thused.

But his next races at St Peters­burg will be the big­gest event he has ever faced.

“It is such a great ex­pe­ri­ence to be rac­ing at a lot of fa­mous tracks this year,” he said.

“It will be the first time I have raced at a street cir­cuit so that is re­ally new to me but I am hop­ing I will adapt to the track fast.

“Even though it is a huge chal­lenge I am ex­cited for the race and for what the fu­ture brings.”

St Peters­burg’s pic­turesque street cir­cuit is flanked by a ma­rina, yacht club and an air­port, and fea­tures a week-long fes­ti­val that in­cludes the fastest rac­ing se­ries on the planet, celebri­ties and top en­ter­tain­ers.

An­thony Martin is pre­sented with his sec­ond tro­phy in the US.

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