Event Preview: F4 U.S. & FR Americas at Road America

Event Preview: F4 U.S. & FR Americas at Road America

Track Facts:
Circuit: Road America
Length: 4.048-miles / 14-turn road course
Race Direction: Clockwise
Podium: Victory Circle

F4 U.S. Championship Powered by Honda
Practice:                       Friday, May 19 at 3:00 p.m. CT
Qualifying:                    Saturday, May 20 at 8:50 a.m. CT
Feature Race 1:             Saturday, May 20 at 1:10 p.m. CT
Feature Race 2:             Sunday, May 21 at 9:10 a.m. CT
Fan Walk:                      Sunday, May 21 at 12:25 p.m. CT
Feature Race 3:             Sunday, May 21 at 1:05 p.m. CT

FR Americas Championship Powered by Honda
Practice:                       Friday, May 19 at 5:00 p.m. CT
Qualifying:                    Saturday, May 20 at 10:10 a.m. CT
Feature Race 1:             Saturday, May 20 at 3:20 p.m. CT
Feature Race 2:             Sunday, May 21 at 11:20 a.m. CT
Fan Walk:                      Sunday, May 21 at 12:25 p.m. CT
Feature Race 3:             Sunday, May 21 at 2:15 p.m. CT


Road America SpeedTour


Round 2 at Road America
Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) and Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4 U.S.) travel to Road America this weekend, ready to take on Round 2 of their 2023 race seasons. Competitors will enjoy a smooth ride on a newly repaved track at Road America. The complete repave, performed at the conclusion of last season, provided the course with new asphalt throughout, as well as with several areas with newly replaced curbing around the circuit.

Meet the Drivers of FR Americas and F4 U.S.
Fans will have the opportunity to meet the drivers of both FR Americas and F4 U.S. during a fan walk on Sunday afternoon. Held at 12:25 p.m. in the pre-grid area between the winner’s circle and pit road, drivers from both series will greet fans, pose for photos and sign autographs. As an added bonus, fans will also get to see the 30-car grid up-close and personal just moments before they take to the track for their final race of the weekend.


F4 U.S. Championship Powered by Honda


Unveiling the Ligier JS F422
Everyone is invited as representatives of F4 U.S. and Ligier Automotive North America come together to unveil the Ligier JS F422 chassis at Road America during the Road America SpeedTour event. This new chassis will be used in F4 U.S. competition beginning with the 2024 race season. After a brief address from key personnel of F4 U.S. and Ligier Automotive, the chassis will be unveiled with photo opportunities available. The unveiling will take place on Friday, May 19 at 12:30 p.m. at the Ligier Automotive Trailer in Road America’s Upper Paddock.

FR Americas Scholarship on The Line
With one race weekend down, the battle for the 2023 championship is beginning to take shape. Carl Bennett (No. 9 Gonella Racing Ligier JS F4) kicked off his sophomore campaign with a win in the season-opening race at NOLA Motorsports Park, but without any other podiums during the weekend, he currently sits fifth in the standings. Instead, Jimmie Lockhart (No. 48 VRD Ligier JS F4), who won the second and third races of the weekend, currently sits atop the standings. He’s trailed by just two points by Patrick Woods-Toth (No. 27 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4), who finished the weekend with three podiums. Completing the top five in the standings are Jesse Lacey (No. 16 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) in third, and Michael Costello (No. 19 Jay Howard Driver Development / CSU One Cure / Lucas Oil / LHP Ligier JS F4) in fourth. At the conclusion of the season, the 2023 Champion will be given the opportunity to move to FR Americas in 2024 with support from Ligier Automotive, Hankook Tires and Parella Motorsports Holdings. In addition, the champion will also receive $25,000 from Honda Performance Development, along with several other prizes.

A Notable Name Missing from Entry List
One name missing from this week’s entry list is current points leader, Jimmie Lockhart. With the 16-year-old absent from the grid, it’s nearly guaranteed that we’ll leave the weekend with a new name atop the standings.

New Teams Join the Mix
Two new teams will join the paddock this weekend at Road America. Making their F4 U.S. debut will be Miami-based Speed Factory. International Motorsports also returns to the paddock for the first time since Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last June. The team will be fighting back from a tough start to the weekend after their transporter suffered a broken axle on the way to Road America. Needing a trucking company to step in and finish transporting their equipment, the team is expected to arrive at the track 45 minutes after load-in begins. Additionally, both VRD and Momentum Motorsports added an entry to become two-car teams this weekend.

Team Swap for Cole Kleck
Cole Kleck (No. 11 VRD Ligier JS F4) will join the VRD camp for the remainder of the season. His best 2023 finish is currently 11th.

New Drivers on the Grid
Four new drivers will make their F4 U.S. debut this weekend at Road America. Nico Dal Monte (No. 23 Schedoni Ligier JS F4) will compete in Momentum Motorsports’ second entry, while Max Taylor (No. 48 VRD Ligier JS F4) will complete VRD’s two-car stable. Augusto Soto-Schirrippa (No. 24 International Motorsports Ligier JS F4) joins the field as International Motorsports’ rookie driver, while Justin Garat (No. 33 Speed Factory Ligier JS F4) will make his series debut with newcomer team, Speed Factory. 

Radford Racing School “Karts to Cars” Graduate Shows Strength
You would never know that Patrick Woods-Toth only stepped behind the wheel of a single-seater racecar last December. A graduate of Radford Racing School’s F4 U.S. Scholarship “Karts to Cars” program, Woods-Toth scored one second-place and two third-place finishes during the series’ opening round at NOLA to currently sit second in the points standings. The Canadian has a strong background in karting, winning the 2022 Motomaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship, the Motomaster Canadian Karting Championship and the Canadian Open Championship.

Students on the Track Celebrating Graduation from the Classroom
Two F4 U.S. drivers have recently celebrated college graduations. It hasn’t even been seven days since Landan Matriano-Lim (No. 2 JENSEN Ligier JS F4) finished his coursework for his degree from Louisiana State University. A double-major in management and marketing, Matriano-Lim will miss his official commencement ceremony, but will instead bring his cap and gown to Road America for graduation photos. Also celebrating a graduation is Nico Dal Monte, who can now focus on the racetrack after earning his bachelor’s degree. The Italian graduated from University of Kentucky on May 5 with a major in Sports Communications and minor in Political Science.

Racing at Home
Competing in the SpeedTour Formula Development Series, driver Ava Dobson (No. 21 Jay Howard Driver Development / CSU One Cure / Lucas Oil / LHP Ligier JS F4) will race near home this weekend. Born in Milwaukee and residing in Franklin, Wis., Dobson will officially join F4 U.S. next month at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after celebrating her 15th birthday to meet the series’ minimum age requirement. Dobson was one of five women to receive the PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship this season along with another F4 U.S. regular, Hannah Greenemeier (No. 74 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4).  


FR Americas Championship Powered by Honda


Racing for a SUPER FORMULA Scholarship
With the first three races of 2023 already in the books for FR Americas, the championship battle is slowly taking form. With back-to-back wins in the opening two races, Ryan Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) currently holds a 17-point lead over teammate Callum Hedge (No. 17 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3), who won the third and final race of the weekend during the series’ last outing at NOLA Motorsports Park. Only 10 points separate the battle from third to seventh. Nick Persing (No. 29 OPI Commercial Builders Ligier JS F3) currently leads the charge, followed by Cooper Becklin (No. 19 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3), Bryson Morris (No. 39 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3), Oliver Westling (No. 1 JENSEN Ligier JS F3) and Manuel Roza (No. 12 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3). The 2023 FR Americas championship-winning driver will once again earn a scholarship from Honda Performance Development and Honda Racing Corporation to compete in the 2024 SUPER FORMULA season. Valued at up to $600,000, the scholarship covers a substantial portion of the cost to run a full season, and includes an engine supply to run with a Honda-powered team selected by Honda.

A Familiar Face Back on the Grid
Velocity Racing Development (VRD) returns to the FR Americas paddock with a familiar shoe, as Rodrigo Gutierrez returns to the cockpit of the No. 10 VRD Ligier JS F3. Kicking off his second season of competition, Gutierrez’s best finish in FR Americas is sixth, which he first recorded last season at Road America and later matched at VIRginia International Raceway.

Drivers Keeping Busy in Weeks Off
It’s been nearly 10 weeks since FR Americas was last on track, but that doesn’t mean the drivers have just been sitting at home. In fact, several of them used the time off to climb into a variety of cars and racing disciplines. Austin Hill (No. 8 SoOhio Equip / Alum Trailers / Ferris Mowers / Big Tex Trailers / PJ Trailers / CM Truck Ligier JS F3) has probably been the busiest switching between race cars. The 16-year-old spent the break racing in everything from SCCA Majors, Spec MX-5 Challenge, Formula Race Promotions, the Trans Am Series, and even tried his hand on dirt while racing a Sprint Car. Meanwhile, Max Hewitt (No. 22 Save22 Ligier JS F3) used the break to get behind the wheel of a kart and then logged some laps at Road America, where he competed just last weekend with World Racing League. Nick Persing became the first racer in the world to drive a Radical XXR to victory lane when he won two Blue Marble Radical Cup races at Barber Motorsports Park last month. Bryson Morris logged not only racing miles, but also air miles, as he traveled to France to compete in the Ultimate Cup Series, and Spain for the Le Mans Cup. Meanwhile, Callum Hedge returned to his native New Zealand where he spent some time working with Race Lab Driver Academy as an engineer on their Toyota 86 project. Ryan Shehan stayed busy off the track, instead focusing on the marketing requirements of the sport while hosting a Motorsports Marketing Roundtable with a panel of industry leaders.

FR Americas Grads Hoping to Make Indy 500
Three FR Americas graduates are attempting to make this year’s Indianapolis 500. After securing his first INDYCAR win just last month, Kyle Kirkwood, the 2017 F4 U.S. Driver Champion and 2018 FR Americas Driver Champion, will look to qualify for the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ for the second time in his career, this year piloting the No. 27 for Andretti Autosport. Likewise, the 2020 FR Americas Vice Champion, David Malukas, will also look to qualify for his second Indy 500 while piloting the No. 18 for Dale Coyne Racing with HMD. Attempting to make his first Indianapolis 500 is INDYCAR rookie Benjamin Pedersen; the 2019 FR Americas Vice Champion is driving the No. 55 for A.J. Foyt Racing.