Two weeks after first arriving in England as the most recent recipients of Team USA Scholarships, Josh Green, 16, from Mount Kisco, N.Y., and Scott Huffaker, 19, from Menlo Park, Calif., are set to compete at this weekend’s AIMSHOP.com Formula Ford Festival and World Cup at Brands Hatch. The duo will be looking to challenge for top honors in their Cliff Dempsey Racing-prepared Ray GR18/19s against a mix of seasoned veterans and new faces, with 71 entries on deck for the highly anticipated event, which returns for its historic 48th year.
The talented young Americans have been busy with preparations to fly the patriotic Team USA colors in their European debuts. Final testing wrapped up today in “traditional” Brands Hatch weather conditions with rain, wind and cool temperatures. Following an additional two days of testing at the undulating 1.2-mile circuit earlier in the week, plus previous outings at Oulton Park, Donington Park and Snetterton, both Green and Huffaker have hovered near the top of the unofficial time sheets and have their sights set on showcasing that practice makes perfect when the real action begins tomorrow with the initial three Heat races.
The Team USA contingents will be contesting Heat Race 1 (Green) and Heat Race 3 (Huffaker) which will set the grids for a pair of Semi-Final races on Sunday morning. The top 14 cars from each race will qualify for the 20-lap Grand Final.
In addition to their on-track activities, Green and Huffaker have benefited from a series of educational visits over the past two weeks. First up was a two-day trip to Italy where they toured both the Lamborghini factory and Squadra Corse, where all the Huracan Super Trofeo EVO cars are built, and Dallara Automobili, the world’s largest race car manufacturer which, among many other projects, provides cars exclusively to the NTT IndyCar Series and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
This week they paid a visit also to Ilmor Engineering in Brixworth, England, which builds and develops the 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged Chevrolet engine with which 2008 Team USA Scholarship (and Formula Ford Festival) winner Josef Newgarden recently secured his second IndyCar championship in three years for Team Penske.
“It’s been an awesome two weeks,” said Green. “From the trip to Italy to touring Ilmor and all of our testing it’s been an unforgettable experience. Cliff runs an amazing team and the cars have been dialed every time on track. All of our tours were great and it was a massive learning experience gaining all sorts of new knowledge on the manufacturing of motors and chassis. Super excited to get racing this weekend at this hugely prestigious event. As well, a massive thank you to everyone behind the Team USA Scholarship, without whom none of this would be possible.”
“We have gotten a lot of time in the cars in all weather conditions,” added Huffaker. “I have learned a lot from the team and also from our driver coach, James [Theodore], especially having all the data and experience from all the other drivers under our tent [with regular driver Jonathan Browne, Peter Dempsey and two Team Canada Scholarship drivers]. Hopefully we can keep it clean in the Heat to give us the best chance to do well in the final.”
Qualifying for the first of the Heat races starts tomorrow, Saturday, at 10:20 a.m. local time with the first race set for 2:50 p.m. Live timing can be found HERE. In addition, live streaming video can be found HERE or HERE.