Ten days after making their overseas car racing debuts in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, Team USA Scholarship drivers Jonathan Kotyk and Aaron Jeansonne are set for some more intense action this weekend at Silverstone. The two talented Americans are among an extremely competitive 110-car entry for the 17th annual Walter Hayes Trophy event, held at the “Home of British Motor Racing” in appreciation of the former Ford executive who, 50 years ago, in 1967, was responsible for the introduction of both Formula Ford and the legendary Ford-Cosworth DFV Formula 1 engine.
The pair have been testing their Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray GR15 Formula Ford cars at Silverstone for the past three days, working alongside British teammates James Raven and Jamie Thorburn as the Corby-based team chases a record-extending seventh victory in the traditional end-of-season celebration of Formula Ford.
Tomorrow morning they will begin their quest to emulate Verizon IndyCar Series racer Conor Daly, GT champion Connor De Phillippi and Mazda factory sportscar driver Tristan Nunez, who won the event respectively in Team USA colors in 2008, 2009 and 2012.
“Our pace in practice has been good over the past three days,” said Kotyk, 23, from Atlantic Beach, Fla. “I’m confident going into qualifying here at the Walter Hayes we will be competitive throughout the weekend. My focus is to keep the car up front to progress through the Heat and Semi to position myself for the Final. Cliff and the team have been a big help and I’m looking forward to the racing this weekend.”
“It has been nice to go through the pre-race weekend testing procedure again,” added Jeansonne, 19, from Sulphur, La. “Jonathan and I are feeling much more prepared this go-round and I believe our pace is shaping up to be more competitive than at Brands Hatch. I’m expecting a culture shock in the race and heats with over 100 total entries but I’m ready to live it up and learn a lot.”
In addition to another productive test at Donington Park last week, Jeansonne and Kotyk took the opportunity to spend a couple of days in London. They also enjoyed informative visits to the McLaren Technical Center, Wirth Research and Sahara Force India F1 as part of their “total immersion” in the thriving British auto racing scene.
“We’ve gotten to do a little sightseeing and have some fun since the Festival,” said Jeansonne. “After spending a weekend in London and walking about 50 miles, we had the chance to tour McLaren’s facility and learn some of their history. We were able to run a crazy-cool motion simulator at Wirth Research and go over data, just like in real life. And to top it off we had a tour of the Force India F1 team while testing for the Walter Hayes. As for London, as cool as the sights were, I may have been more focused on the constant car show going on in the streets!”
“The past 10 days in England have been unbelievable,” said Kotyk. “This weekend we are competing in the Walter Hayes Trophy to round out our Team USA Scholarship experience. I’ve had a great time and want to thank the Team USA Scholarship and all its many supporters for making this all possible.”
Live timing and scoring can be found under the Motorsport tab at http://www.mstworld.com/results/event/2017/11.