Tight lap times in F3 Americas practices builds suspense for upcoming weekend
After nearly a two month break, F3 Americas Championship Powered by Honda returns to action at Pittsburgh International Race Complex for the triple-header Keystone Speedfest June 21-23. F3 Americas opened its inaugural season at the Wampum, Pennsylvania, road course, last year, and since its world debut, the FIA-supported championship has nearly quadrupled in size.
Separated by a single marker, Jacob Abel of Louisville, Kentucky, leads the championship over Dakota Dickerson of San Diego. Driving for the reigning F3 Americas Team Champions Abel Motorsports, the new high school grad took back-to-back victories at Road Atlanta in April. Heading the single-car team effort, Abel is eager to build off the team’s winning momentum.
“I’m really excited about the Pitt Race weekend,” commented Abel. “We get an extended amount of track time with the official testing we had earlier in the week. I ran here in the F4 U.S. Championship Powered by Honda last season, so I feel comfortable driving around the track. Following our official practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, my confidence level is good, especially coming off the two wins at Road Atlanta. Even with the success we had in the last race, we’re not complacent.”
Running on used tires from previous events, Abel ran mid-pack during both official practices on Friday. In effort to keep costs low, using new tires on practice days is against F3 Americas regulations. Dickerson, however, showed real pace in practices, leading the standings in both practices and setting times that were more than one second faster than the track times established last year.
“We had two days of development so all the cars were pretty fast,” said the reigning F4 U.S. Champion Dickerson. “Due to the tire rule, we were running on tires from Road Atlanta with a lot of wear, which says a lot about the life of the new Hankook tire package. We were setting fast pace on worn tires and we were still showing good speed. I think we will see the pace come down even more for the entire Global Racing Group team once we switch to stickers for qualifying.”
Putting additional pressure on Dickerson and Abel this weekend is series newcomer Quinlan Lall of Ringwood, New Jersey. Lall, who is filling in for Shea Holbrook in the No. 67 Momentum Motorsports car, held the fastest times in each practice today before being eclipsed by Dickerson in the final minutes. In some of the closest lap times this season, Dickerson took fastest time in Practice 2 by just over one hundredths of a second.
“It’s been a great first outing in F3 Americas,” said Lall. “This week I’ve got to test the car in both wet and dry conditions at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. We started off slow and steady, but really built up the pace between test days and practice. I am definitely looking forward to tomorrow to continue working on myself and the car. Huge thanks to Momentum Motorsports for giving me a great car from the beginning.”
Baltazar Leguizamon of Buenos Aires, Argentina, competed at Pitt Race last season in F3 Americas. Returning under the Global Racing Group banner, Leguizamon also kept times close, completing a fast-lap about three tenths of a second behind Dickerson.
“The practices ahead of qualifying put me in a good position,” Leguizamon said.”This weekend we will go to fight for the victory that escaped us in the last race, we want to get closer in the championship and we will leave everything for that.”
Thirteen F3 cars take the track early Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET for a 30-minute qualifying session before lining up for the first race of the weekend at 2:10 p.m. ET. Two 35-minute races on Sunday finalize the Keystone Speedfest weekend. For tickets, timing and event photos, visit F3Americas.com.