Sweltering 100-degree heat and high humidity challenged Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda teams and drivers all through the third annual Andy Scriven Memorial Race Weekend at Virginia International Raceway, July 17-19. Environment, tire management, engine temperature control and heat stamina became central components in all of the teams’ weekend strategies.
The racing was just as hot as the asphalt, with the FR Americas drivers delivering an action-packed tripleheader on Saturday and Sunday.
Linus Lundqvist remained perfect in his championship chase, scoring three wins, securing three pole positions and setting race fastest lap in each race, all while breaking two records along the way. Sunday’s win in Race 3 was the Global Racing Group rookie’s fifth-consecutive win in the championship.
“What an absolute dream weekend – again,” Lundqvist said. “First of all, I have to thank my team at Global Racing Group. They did a great job all weekend, and it takes a whole lot of work to set up a race-winning car like that. Also massive thanks to Honda. I may be the one driving it, but there is an immense amount of teamwork behind every victory. It’s absolutely stellar and I’m so happy and proud about what we achieved this weekend.”
Reigning F4 U.S. champion Joshua Car also had a standout weekend. Following a tough series debut at Mid-Ohio, the Australian Crosslink Competition pilot turned his luck around at VIR, finishing the weekend with three second-place finishes.
“The team had the car dialed in this weekend,” Car said. “(Linus) Lundqvist is really quick. There were some laps I was quicker, and some laps he was quicker. So the gaps stayed pretty stable. The team and I made so much progress this week that I know will have another go at the top step at Barber.”
In Race 1, polesitter Lundqvist made quick work of the F1-style standing start and had a commanding lead of more than a full second by Lap 3. Behind, Car moved up quickly from a fifth-place starting position, taking over second from Newman Wachs Racing rookie Jordan Missig on the restart from a full-course yellow and setting off after Lundqvist.
He ran out of time, though, Lundqvist edging away over the last few laps to win the 35-minute contest with Car second.
Missig finished the race in a lonely third, while his Newman Wachs teammate Victor Franzoni and HMD Motorsports rookie David Malukas took their last-lap shootout down to the final straight, Franzoni winning the duel to finish fourth with Malukas fifth.
“It feels absolutely amazing to be able to get a podium in my third race as a rookie in this series,” Missig said. “The competition level is so high in this series and it makes getting a podium much more enjoyable. I want to thank my team manager Brian Halahan, Shaggy, Jason, Marco, Tom and everyone at Newman Wach Racing for giving me such a fast Missig Performance Group/Autobahn Country Club/Kart Circuit Autobahn Ligier JS F3.”
Saturday opened with a full green 35-minute Race 2. Starting second, Car took the early lead from pole-starting Lundqvist, who played catch-up for the opening four laps. On the fifth, Lundqvist slipped past, quickly pulling out nearly a five-second gap to cross the line uncontested in first.
Car finished second, five seconds behind but nearly 10 seconds ahead of third-place finisher Malukas as Global Racing Group drivers Nicky Hays and Benjamin Pedersen rounded out the top five.
The FR Americas Andy Scriven Memorial Race Weekend culminated on a sun-soaked, oily 18-turn, 2.59-mile VIR track — the same brutally hot conditions, the same two central protagonists as again, both starting from the front row, Lundqvist and Car diced for the lead through the entire 35-minute race.
With six minutes remaining, a full-course caution grouped the cars back together; but on the restart Lundqvist and Car quickly gapped third-placed Malukas to resume their duel.
In a two-lap shootout, the two Ligier JS F3 cars battled wheel-to-wheel; but Car was unable to get past the defending Swede.
At the flag, Lundqvist just edged out Car, crossing the line just 0.256-seconds ahead and notching his third victory of the weekend.
Malukas experienced heat-induced mechanical issues during the caution period and Franzoni got the jump on him on the restart. But Malukas paid back the favor on the final lap, nursing an anguished car into a podium finish.
“It was a great weekend of learning,” Malukas said. “At a new track, with equipment that we are still beginning to learn and overcoming multiple obstacles, we still came out successful and secured two podium finishes.”
Franzoni wound up fourth, while Singapore’s Danial Frost charged from a 10th-place start to finish the race in fifth, his best result in a weekend of mechanical issues.
Frost gained three of those five positions in the final two laps and was awarded the Omologato Perfectly Timed Move of the Race which includes a signature Omologato watch for his passing precision.
“Difficult weekend for the team and myself,” said Frost. ” We had the pace for podium, but unfortunately we were never able to convert our pace to our true position. The team did a great job fixing the car and getting me back on track during the races. We look forward to a better weekend at Barber.”
The FR Americas Championship heads further south to Birmingham, Alabama, for the SCCA Pro Racing Barber Festival at Barber Motorsports Park, July 31-August 2.
For images, video replays, full results and more information visit FRAmericas.com.