Parker Locke makes F3 Americas debut and Benjamin Pedersen returns to complete growing F3 field
The new F3 Americas Championship Powered by Honda continues to grow as the series enters its fourth event set for Road Atlanta this weekend (Sept. 21-22). As the back end of the 14-race season approaches, teams are still expanding their lineups, chasing the inaugural team title.
After trailing Global Racing Group in the team championship at the end of two events, Abel Motorsports called up F4 U.S. Championship driver Jacob Abel of Louisville, Kentucky, to expand its single-car F3 operation to a two-car team. Abel completed the Abel Motorsports lineup, joining reigning F4 U.S. champion and eight-time F3 Americas winner Kyle Kirkwood of Jupiter, Florida. With its two-car growth, its podium count burgeoned, taking the lead over GRG in the season-long team championship by 55 points.
In response, Global Racing Group took delivery of its third Ligier JS F3 chassis, adding Parker Locke of San Antonio to the squad for the next six rounds as a test for a season-long ride in 2019. Road Atlanta will be the first time Global Racing Group will enter multiple drivers since the second race weekend at Mid-Ohio.
“As the season progresses we will continue to see the F3 Americas field to grow,” said SCCA Pro Racing Vice President Steve Oseth. “Teams and competitors are recognizing the value of this new, exciting Ligier/Honda/Pirelli package. With its state of the art engine and chassis combination this car offers more performance per dollar than any other professional open wheel series.”
Fresh off its maiden victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Locke enters Global Racing Group on an upward swing. While Locke’s goal is to be competitive this weekend and to add to the Seattle-based team’s 11-podium run, the most important objective for the rookie is learning the car to secure a full-time seat for 2019.
“Road Atlanta will essentially serve as an in-race test. As a driver I always want to be competitive, but this weekend the focus is really on learning the car,” said Locke. “We competed at Road Atlanta earlier this season with F4 and I’m looking forward to experiencing the difference in the F3 car with higher horsepower on a familiar track.”
Locke joins GRG teammates Baltazar Leguizamon of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Benjamin Pedersen of Copenhagen, Denmark, who returns to the squad’s roster for the first time since the second event of the season.
Though Southern Motorsports continues to be a single-car program for Road Atlanta, entering John Paul Southern Jr. of Westlake, Ohio, it’s competitiveness with the multi-car teams is superlative. Southern finished second in Round 8 at NJMP, the highest of his F3 career, and barely missed the steps in Round 7 after losing a race-long battle with Abel on the last lap.
Team Championship points are calculated from teams’ top-two drivers’ standings from each individual race. In case of a tie, the team with the most race wins will be awarded the higher position.9
The F3 Americas teams and drivers will participate in two official test sessions, qualifying and three 35-minute races. The Friday is dedicated to practice. Saturday morning kicks off at 8 a.m. with qualifying and Race 1 following lunch at 12:50 p.m. The weekend wraps up Sunday with Race 2 beginning at 9:10 a.m. and Race 3 at 3:45 p.m. Fans can follow Live Timing & Scoring on F3Americas.com.
(All times local, schedule subject to change)