2024 PREVIEW - USF PRO 2000

The USF Pro Championships also get underway again this weekend. The USF Pro 2000 will contest its first two races of the year as part of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. In this preview you will get an overview of all the teams and their drivers, the race calendar and all the tracks, the Spring Training pre-season tests and much more.


There are 22 drivers from eight different teams on the entry list for the first race weekend in St. Petersburg. A few drivers will not contest the full season and others will join them in the course of the year. In addition to Myles Rowe, last year's champion who will compete in Indy NXT in 2024, runner-up Kiko Porto, Mexican Salvador De Alba, Michael d'Orlando, Francesco Pizzi and Lirim Zendeli are no longer part of the racing series. Only De Alba has so far made the step to compete full-time in Indy NXT, while the others have not yet managed to do so.


BN Racing

Nicolás Baptiste, Ricardo Escotto


BN Racing is a new team joining the championship this year. The team from Florida already took part in the USF 2000 and USF Pro 2000 between 2017 and 2019 and won races and podium finishes in both racing series. For their comeback, they will line up with Colombian Nicolás Baptiste, who last raced in the Formula Regional EU by Alpine in Europe in 2022. His best result was a 15th place in Mugello. In 2021, the 18-year-old finished fifth in the Italian F4 with Cram Motorsport in Monza. One of his team-mates this year is Mexican Ricardo Escotto. The 19-year-old is contesting his second season in the USF Pro 2000 this year and won a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year with the JHDD team. He finished the championship in 13th place.


DEForce Racing

Mac Clark, Nicholas Monteiro, Jorge Garciarce


DEForce Racing will enter three cars in 2024. For Canadian Mac Clark, it will be his first full-time year in USF Pro 2000. The 19-year-old made his debut at the Circuit of the Americas. With podium finishes of second and third in both races, Clark immediately proved his talent and speed. The racing driver from Ontario won the USF Juniors Championship in 2022 and finished fifth in the USF 2000 Championship in 2023. In 2023, he secured two victories and a total of six USF 2000 podium finishes. Nicholas Monteiro is contesting his second year in the USF Pro 2000 in 2024. Last year, he finished 19th in the championship with NeoTech Motorsport. Two eleventh places in Toronto were the 18-year-old Brazilian's best results. With four podium finishes, he ended the Brazilian F4 2022 in eighth place. The team is completed by Jorge Garciarce, who will contest his first full USF Pro 2000 season this year. He made his debut in the racing series last year at the Circuit of the Americas. The 19-year-old Mexican mainly focused on the USF 2000 Championship in 2023, which he finished eighth with three top five and twelve top ten results.


Exclusive Autosport

Braden Eves, Avery Towns


Exclusive Autosport will have two drivers on the grid in St. Petersburg. So far, however, only Braden Eves has been confirmed for the entire season. After a one-year break, the 24-year-old from Ohio is back in the USF Pro 2000. He won the USF 2000 championship in 2019 and was promoted to the Indy Pro 2000 in 2020. In the three years from 2020 to 2022, he won five races, stood on the podium a total of 16 times and finished the 2021 championship as runner-up. If he can build on these performances, Eves will be one of the most dangerous drivers in the fight for the title. His part-time team-mate for 2024 is Avery Towns. The 20-year-old from Dallas made his debut in the USF 2000 Championship in 2023, where an eighth place in Toronto was his best result. His plan is to compete full-time for Exclusive Autosport in USF Pro 2000 in 2025.


Jay Howard Driver Development

Frankie Mossman


The Jay Howard Driver Development team is entering the new USF Pro 2000 season with just one full-time driver. Frankie Mossman contested his first USF Pro 2000 races with the team last year, with a ninth place at the Circuit of the Americas being his best result to date. At the start of the 2023 season, the 18-year-old from California was still competing in the F4 US Championship, where he finished second and third on the podium twice at Road America.


Pabst Racing

Simon Sikes, Christian Brooks, Jace Denmark


The defending champions of the drivers' and team championships will start the new year with three drivers. Reigning USF 2000 champion Simon Sikes will contest his first races in the USF Pro 2000 Championship in 2024. The 23-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, won six races last year, finished on the podium a total of 14 times and set the fastest race lap nine times. After four moderately difficult years in the USF 2000, he finally managed his breakthrough. He also won the F1600 Championship Series in 2020. After budget problems in previous years and his victory on his only weekend in 2023 in St. Petersburg, Christian Brooks is finally competing full-time in 2024. The 23-year-old from Santa Clarita, California, has already won races in the F4 US, USF 2000 and USF Pro 2000 in his career. The team is completed by Jace Denmark. For the 19-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona, 2024 will be his second year in the USF Pro 2000 category. Last year, he finished the championship in seventh place and twice finished third on the podium. In 2022, he finished the USF 2000 Championship in third place. All three drivers could be contenders for the title this year.


TJ Speed Motorsports

Hunter Yeany, David Morales, Liam Sceats


TJ Speed Motorsport will have three drivers on the grid this year, but only two have been confirmed for the full season so far. Hunter Yeany returns to the United States after three years in FIA Formula 3, where he won the F4 US Championship in 2020. During his three years in the F1 Feeder Series, however, top results failed to materialize. Three 16th places in Imola, Silverstone and Barcelona were the 18-year-old's best results. His team-mate for the year will be David Morales. The 20-year-old from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was still competing in the British GB3 last year and finished the championship in 13th place. His best result in the racing series came in third place at Oulton Park in 2022. At the start of 2023, he won the third Formula Regional Oceania race at Highlands Motorsport Park. The team is completed by New Zealander Liam Sceats. So far, he has only been confirmed for the first weekend in St. Petersburg. The 19-year-old raced in Formula Regional Japan last year and clinched the runner-up title with three wins and five other podium finishes. At the beginning of this year, he also won the New Zealand Grand Prix in the Formula Regional Oceania and finished the championship as runner-up.


Turn 3 Motorsport

Adam Fitzgerald, Danny Dyszelski, Tyke Durst, Lochie Hughes, Ethan Ho


The Turn 3 Motorsport team has five drivers on the grid this year. Adam Fitzgerald is making his debut in the United States, having previously competed mainly in Formula 4 and Formula Regional races in Europe. The Irishman is returning from rehab after serious injury including several broken bones. On July 1, 2023, the 20-year-old collided with Dilano van't Hoff at Spa-Francorchamps in rain and undriveable visibility, where the Dutchman has lost his life.


Danny Dyszelski made his debut in USF Pro 2000 at the 2023 season finale in Portland. Ninth place in the third and final race was his best result to date. The 15-year-old from South Carolina spent most of last year racing with Velocity RD in USF 2000, where his best result was a fourth place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 20-year-old Tyke Durst is contesting his first ever USF Pro 2000 races in St. Petersburg. The racing driver from Memphis, Tennessee finished the F4 US Championship last year in 18th place with nine top ten finishes.


Lochie Hughes will also be taking part in his first USF Pro 2000 races in St. Petersburg. The 21-year-old from Australia finished the USF 2000 Championship in third place last season with four wins and a total of eight podium finishes. In 2022, he immediately won the F4 US Championship with six race wins in his debut year in the United States. The team is completed by Ethan Ho. The 18-year-old from Los Angeles with Taiwanese roots is making the step up to the USF Pro 2000 Championship this year. In recent years, he has mainly competed in USF 2000 and USF Juniors. He finished 13th in the USF 2000 Championship in 2023. His best result was a fifth place in the third race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He also took part in the 2023 Formula 4 race at the Macau Grand Prix, where he finished a strong fifth.


Velocity Racing Development

Nikita Johnson, Shawn Rashid


The Velocity Racing Development Team will have two cars on the grid in St. Petersburg. Nikita Johnson will contest the full season, while Shawn Rashid will only take part in individual events. Nikita Johnson already caused a stir in the championship last year when he won two of the last six races and finished on the podium in two other races. The driver from St. Petersburg, Florida, spent the 2023 season mainly in USF 2000, where he won one race, finished on the podium a total of eight times and was runner-up in the championship. In 2022, the now 15-year-old also won the Yacademy Winter Series and finished third in the USF Juniors Championship. In addition to sporadic appearances in the USF Pro 2000, his team-mate Shawn Rashid is mainly focusing on the British GB3 Championship with VRD and Arden this year. The 28-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, finished 25th in last year's GB3 championship.


Comet/NCMP Racing

Logan Adams


Logan Adams will compete with the Comet/NCMP Racing private team in 2024. The 18-year-old from Indianapolis contested his rookie season in the F4 US Championship with JHDD last year, where his best result was a seventh place at New Jersey Motorsports Park. He made his USF 2000 debut on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. On his second weekend in Toronto, he immediately made it onto the podium in third place.


Once again this year, 18 races will take place, but only on eight different race tracks. Last year, the races were spread across nine tracks. To make up for this, there will be one more race each at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Road America. In addition to Sebring Raceway, the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, is no longer included. But for the first time since 2015, the racing series will return to NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana.


Round 1/2: Streets of St. Petersburg (March 8-10)


Round 3/4/5: NOLA Motorsports Park (April 5-7)


Round 6/7/8: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Road Course (May 9-11)


Round 9: Lucas Oil Raceway (May 23-24)


Round 10/11/12: Road America (June 6-9)


Round 13/14: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (July 4-7)


Round 15/16: Exhibition Place - Toronto (July 19-21)


Round 17/18: Portland International Raceway (August 22-25)


Each race weekend includes a different number of races. Only one race will be held at Lucas Oil Raceway. In most cases, however, two races will be held each weekend, with the exception of the season finale at Portland International Raceway, where three races will be held.


The following points are awarded in the oval race: P1 = 45, P2 = 38, P3 = 33, P4 = 29, P5 = 26, P6 = 23, P7 = 21, P8 = 20, P9 = 18, P10 = 17, P11 = 15, P12 = 14, P13 = 12, P14 = 11, P15 = 9, P16 = 8, P17 = 6, P18 = 5, P19 = 3, P20 = 2.


For a road race, the following points are awarded:

P1 = 30, P2 = 25, P3 = 22, P4 = 19, P5 = 17, P6 = 15, P7 = 14, P8 = 13, P9 = 12, P10 = 11, P11 = 10, P12 = 9, P13 = 8, P14 = 7, P15 = 6, P16 = 5, P17 = 4, P18 = 3, P19 = 2, P20 = 1.


In addition, there are extra points to be won in each race. One point is awarded to the driver who lead the most laps, one point is awarded to the driver with the fastest race lap and one point is awarded for pole position.


Over two days on February 26th and 27th, a total of five pre-season practice sessions took place at NOLA Motorsports Park. A total of 23 drivers took part in the sessions, including some who have not yet been confirmed for the season and may contest part-time events. In the first practice session on Monday, Nikita Johnson set the fastest lap ahead of his VRD teammate Nico Christodoulou. In the second session on the track's North Layout, JHDD driver Lochie Hughes set the fastest time of Spring Training with a 1:31.1571. Second fastest, just a tenth of a second behind, was once again Nico Christodoulou. The Canadian is actually registered for the full season in the USF 2000 championship, but proved in Spring Training at NOLA that he can also compete with the faster USF Pro cars at the front. In the third session on Tuesday morning, Hughes and Christodoulou were again in front, before David Morales set the pace ahead of Nikita Johnson in the fourth session. Finally, the fastest lap of the day was set by BN Racing driver Nicolás Baptiste with a 1:31.3207 in the fifth and final session of the test. The busiest drivers on the two testing days were Christian Brooks and Simon Sikes, who both completed 82 laps each.


Test Results

P1: Lochie Hughes - Turn 3 Motorsport / 1m31.1571s

P2: Nico Christodoulou - VRD Racing / +0.1049s

P3: Nicolás Baptiste - BN Racing / +0.1636s

P4: Adam Fitzgerald - Turn 3 Motorsport / +0.2996s

P5: David Morales - TJ Speed Motorsports / +0.4635s

P6: Nikita Johnson - VRD Racing / +0.4989s

P7: Danny Dyszelski - Turn 3 Motorsport / +0.5261s

P8: Mac Clark - DEForce Racing / +0.5313s

P9: Jace Denmark - Pabst Racing / +0.5851s

P10: Ethan Ho - Turn 3 Motorsport / +0.6635s

P11: Ricardo Escotto - BN Racing / +0.6828s

P12: Christian Brooks - Pabst Racing / +0.6933s

P13: Tyke Durst - Turn 3 Motorsport / +0.7064s

P14: Liam Sceats - TJ Speed Motorsports / +0.8059s

P15: Simon Sikes - Pabst Racing / +0.8992s

P16: Hunter Yeany - TJ Speed Motorsports / +0.9404s

P17: Nicholas Monteiro - DEForce Racing / +0.9844s

P18: Frankie Mossman - JHDD / +0.9954s

P19: Braden Eves - Exclusive Autosport / +1.0438s

P20: Jorge Garciarce - DEForce Racing / +1.2696s

P21: Michael Boyiadzis - JHDD / +2.2776s

P22: Logan Adams - Comet/NCMP Racing / +2.5638s

P23: Esteban Rodriguez - BN Racing / +5.9738s


All USF Pro 2000, USF 2000 and USF Juniors races can once again be followed live on YouTube or via the app this year. Free of charge, all over the world.


As I already did last year, I dare to make some predictions for this year's USF Pro 2000 driver and team championships.


Drivers Championship Prediction


P1: Nikita Johnson

P2: Mac Clark

P3: Jace Denmark

P4: Christian Brooks

P5: Lochie Hughes


The 2024 USF Pro 2000 Drivers' Championship could be a very entertaining and exciting season right to the end. Rarely has there been so much talent at the start of this racing series. The race for the title could be very open between drivers such as Nikita Johnson, Mac Clark, Christian Brooks, Jace Denmark, Simon Sikes and Lochie Hughes. Due to the top performances he showed at the end of last season in the USF Pro 2000 car, Nikita Johnson is my favorite for the championship, but I also see Mac Clark and Jace Denmark in the race for the title. I'm very excited about the performances of the two returnees Braden Eves and Christian Brooks. Both have already proven their talent in the racing series on several occasions before. I'm also looking forward to seeing how Hunter Yeany, the 2020 F4 US champion, will perform after racing in FIA Formula 3 for the past few years. And I also have confidence in New Zealander Liam Sceats to compete for podium places here and there.


Teams Championship Prediction


P1: Pabst Racing

P2: DEForce Racing

P3: Velocity Racing Development


As in the previous year, I think Pabst Racing will also take the title in the 2024 USF Pro 2000 Team Championship. Second and third place will probably be shared by DEForce and Velocity RD, followed by Turn 3 as the fourth strongest force ahead of TJ Speed. I really hope that Exclusive Autosport will also be more consistent than last year, then they can definitely have a say in the battle between DEForce, Turn 3, Velocity RD and TJ Speed.



And next Saturday, the first race of the season already starts!

written by Claudio Graf  / 5th March, 2024