Team News: ART Grand Prix America Wraps up April with Strong Results in Multiple States and Countries
Growing as fast as any team in the country, ART Grand Prix America had strong results not only all over the United States last month, but also all over the Western Hemisphere. Opening up the month, the team was split with top junior driver Brenden Baker traveling all the way across the U.S. to compete in the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup series event in Kershaw, South Carolina in the Yamaha Junior category. This would be a huge test for the team as it was the first time the driver and the chassis had ever raced with the Yamaha engine package and the smaller sized 6.0 rear tires. With very limited Friday practice, the pace was looking good, but new tires were very important at this track so no one really knew the order until qualifying. After a tough qualifying session, Baker would drive through the field to win the pre-final. Baker would then be roughed around in the main, constantly getting knocked off the track, but was able to finally finish 8th, running some of the fastest laps in the field. Sunday would prove just as difficult. Driving through the field three times throughout the day, Baker couldn’t get any luck and just always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, eventually ending the weekend 7th. While the end results weren’t fantastic, the speed all weekend definitely turned heads as the same TS-01 that dominates all over the world in KZ, KF, Stock Honda, and TAG proved just as successful in the lower HP classes.
On the same weekend, Juan Jimenez was contesting the Colombian Rotax championship event in Rotax Senior. The series champion qualifies the champion for the Rotax World Finals and is the country’s toughest championship. Struggling all season, Jimenez made the switch to the ART Grand Prix chassis and instantly moved back up the order. Last year’s Rotax Junior champion progressed all weekend getting more comfortable with the chassis to end the weekend 4th out of 20 entries. Easily the best finish for Jimenez this season.
Following the SKUSA Pro Tour, the team returned to Tri-C for a club event. As the official Rotax series for the region, the competition is stout in these categories. Phillippe Denes would contest Rotax Junior and would drive to his first victory of the season beating one of the top junior pilots in the final turn on the last lap of the main. It was a very exciting moment for the young driver who improves each and every time on track. Gianfraco Casadei has been perfect so far in the 125cc Shifter division, and this month proved no different taking yet another sweep of the race day making him a perfect 3 for 3 on pole, both heat wins, and the main event victory in Tri-C competition. Andrew Wiener came up one turn short of completing the sweep for the team as he had a spirited battle in Rotax Senior that would see Wiener lead most of the second half of the race, but just come up short getting passed in the final turn on the last lap.
In addition, David Martinez enjoyed a very successful April in Mexico racing in the shifter division. He had two podiums with his ART Grand Prix chassis finishing 3rd in the Sierra Esmeralda track championship and 2nd in the Mexican Regional Championship event. Martinez also battled from an 18th starting position to climb all the way to 7th in the SKUSA Mexico championship event.
Following his sweep of the SKUSA Pro Tour in Tucson in TAG Senior, Andrew Zimmer continued his winning ways with dominating the Sunday round of the IKF Region 6 Gold Cup in Tri Cities, Washington. Zimmer won the Rotax Senior in fine fashion taking the pole position and then running away with the victory in the pre-final and the final. Zimmer and Black Flag Racing, an authorized ART Grand Prix dealer, will look to continue their winning ways in the upcoming Rotax Can-Am challenge.
The final race of the month came at Southern California’s largest club series, LAKC. Five drivers ran with the team at the Calspeed Karting Circuit. Steve Wetterau had a disastrous race day after winning the opening round in the PRD Pilot class. Getting blocked in qualifying, Wetterau would be forced to start near the tail end for the heat. The day would only get worse for the karting rookie as he lost an engine on the opening lap of the pre-final and then was involved in a vicious incident on the opening lap of the final flipping over, but luckily walking away with no more than bruises. Aaron Aguirre and Greggy Osborne would be making their team debuts in the PRD Junior category, with this being Osborne’s first ever karting event. Osborne would be forced to change engines after warm-up, but managed to complete all of the laps and learn a lot in his first ever racing experience, a big moment for any driver just starting. Aguirre didn’t participate in the test day and would have little practice to get his ART Grand Prix up to speed. It would not be an issue as the young driver qualified an impressive 4th out of 25 drivers. He would have a fantastic battle in the heat in the lead pack to line up for 5th for the final. Unfortunately, the team’s tough luck continued as a small mistake trying to pass a competitor put Aguirre back to last where he would eventually suffer a broken header. Andrew Wiener qualified 5th in the stacked PRD Senior field. Determined to move up the pack, Wiener would end up in a crash that put him out of the pre-final. The San Diego high school student would put in a remarkable drive to climb from 25th to 7th including laps that included passing four karts in one lap. Wiener is definitely on the verge of breaking through for his first victory of the season. Rounding out the team was Gianfranco Casadei who would be one of the fastest drivers in the S2 category all weekend. Poised to get on the podium and battle with some top level Southern California shifter drivers, Casadei had lost a lot of power in the main and could only settle for a 5th place finish. Further research later showed a broken piston was the reason for the reduced pace.
ART Grand Prix America continues to grow and expand and is actively seeking prospective dealers across the United States. To learn more about becoming a dealer, joining our winning race team, or any other information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Facebook: ART Grand Prix America.
ART Grand Prix America is the exclusive importer of the ART Grand Prix chassis line, which includes the new ART Grand Prix TS-05 NA cadet model, which is designed solely for the United States market. ART Grand Prix America races with the support of ART Grand Prix, D Power Racing Engines, Starlane Electronics, and Lucky Design.