2019 F4 U.S. Championship – Opening Round Report

St. Petersburg, FL – Primus Racing finds success amid difficult conditions.

The opening Round of the 2019 championship was one to remember with a mix of difficult conditions, new drivers, and a very close field. Primus Racing completed a last minute deal with Auckland, New Zealand driver, Josh Bethune, to pilot the Primus Racing #69 machine just days before the event. Josh completed a half days testing at Roebling Road with the team to get a feel for the car and complete his driver fit. After that it was straight to Road Atlanta to get the season started!

Thursday (Promoter Testing) and Friday (Official Practice) were days focused on learning the track and evaluating the setup on the cars. This was the first time at Road Atlanta for Bethune and the first time the new Hankook tires have been used in anger at a race event so the team focused on gathering data and evaluating setup changes explored in pre-season testing. Yoder and Bethune placed themselves P19 and P20 respectively in combined practice times after opting to not use a set of new tires for the official practice sessions. Neither had shown their true pace yet but knew they had done what was needed to be at the front when the time came.

Bethune 10

Friday morning brought very heavy rain and high winds resulting in Qualifying being cancelled. Officials then called for Official Practice times to set the grid for Race 1 of the weekend. This was a big blow to the team strategy as it rewarded those who used new tires in practice. As the team began to prepare for the race the Race Director declared that Race 1 would be a wet race meaning that all cars must start the race on wet weather tires. The race began with both Primus drivers moving forward, beginning to showcase the true pace they had. After a lengthy red flag mid way through the race, the track had almost completely dried and the cars were stuck on track with what would now be the wrong tire choice. With limited time remaining in the race the drivers had to do what they could to search for puddles to keep the tires from completely falling apart and essentially halted any forward progress. Yoder and Bethune brought the cars home in P18 and P15 respectively.

Yoder 9

Saturday brought forth another set of weather conditions as the rain had not completely moved out and the cold front pushed in. Lows in the mid 40’s with a light drizzle set the stage for Race 2 where Yoder would start from P20 and Bethune from P16. The race was shortened to 22 minutes from the original 30 after several drivers encountered trouble on the pace laps. A safety car at Lap 6 then took another 8 minutes off the clock leaving only 14 minutes of racing time left. Both Primus drivers fought through their packs and moved forward again to finish P13 (Bethune) and P16 (Yoder) all while setting quick laps along the way, quickest of all in fact!

For Race 3, Aidan Yoder would show his true pace by putting himself on the pole! Aidan’s time of 1:28.558 was 0.205 clear of the next competitor, solidly securing the position. Racing in the pack didn’t allow Bethune to get a clear lap, thus relegating him to a P18 starting position. This got pushed back to P20 when officials decided to use hand scored times despite some drivers not having working transponders. Aidan had a strong start and led the first 4 laps of the race. He held his own in the lead pack racing back and forth between 2nd and 4th. A safety car bunched up the field and again Aidan held his own and maintained his position. During all the action at the front Josh was having his own battles as he moved through the field one car at a time. A late race restart was everyone’s last chance to move forward, unfortunately Yoder suffered a mechanical failure with 2 laps to go, ending his race. This also ended Bethune’s charge, finishing unofficially in P13.

“Despite the results sheets not showing it, we all agree it was a successful weekend. We had fast cars off the truck, the team worked well together, adapted quickly, and constantly improved. We’ve got a good group of guys, I feel confident about the rest of the season.” – Derich Cutshaw, Race Engineer & Co-Owner

“We continued to grow throughout the entire week, learning more and more each session. We were able to make a statement on Saturday and show our true pace by setting the pole for the final race. It was a strong start to our year, I’m confident we’ll be able to continue making strides in the coming events.” – Aidan Yoder #44

“It was a great time working with the Primus boys. We all had a massive effort in front of us with the deal being so last minute but the team worked well together and helped me climb the steep learning curve quickly.” – Josh Bethune #69

Bethune 9

Primus Racing will be back in action June 21st – 23rd at Pittsburgh International Race Complex for Round 2 of the 2019 Championship. Until then the team will resume testing, interested parties are asked to contact us for test and race opportunities!

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2017 F4 U.S. Championship – Opening Weekend Review

It’s been a while since we have had some time to give everyone an update on the happenings here at Primus Racing but we haven’t forgotten about you!

About a month ago (seems like only days ago) our 2017 F4 season began at Homestead-Miami Speedway in sunny South Florida. Months of preparation, countless hours of improvement and testing all lead up to this weekend. The first weekend is always crucial in a very close championship as it sets the tone for the season; will you have a hole to dig out of, will you come out on top…All questions we were ready to answer.

Nick and Derich working hard to get Jim’s car prepared for testing!

The weekend began with a Promoters Test Day and allowed the team to shake the cars down during several install laps and start going through a few items for verification from testing. The test day went well and the team felt confident going into qualifying.

Qualifying began as normal with the drivers getting an initial feel for the changes that were made overnight and ensuring the balance was where they liked it before pushing hard on the new Pirelli tires! The team worked bit-by-bit to improve the car throughout the session and a mixed result came of it. Jim Goughary was able to qualify 10th, a very strong result for the team. Austin McCusker struggled with traffic during the session and could not string together a clean lap, placing him in 24th. Not an impossible challenge to win from either position but we all knew it would be a fight!

Race 1 began later that day with a similar feeling to the end of qualifying. Jim in his #4 Primus Racing machine, was able to make a great start and lunge hard on the brakes into turn 2 to pass a total of 6 cars in the first lap! Austin, being further back, knew the first lap would be a difficult one to come out of unscathed. Heading into turn 3 the field rapidly checked up causing Austin to hit the rear of another driver and badly damage his front wing. The team closely monitored the damage and the lap times and determined it was safe to leave Austin on track to attempt to improve his position. Meanwhile, Jim was battling hard for a spot on the podium. Every few laps the train of cars from 2nd to 5th would swap positions as the used the draft down the front straight. Unfortunately, all this battling allowed the leader to pull away a slight bit as each lap passed. The field finally started to separate and Jim was able to hang on to the 4th position to bring home a really solid result to start the year off with! Austin was able to finish the race despite the damage and came home in P22.

The team was able to repair the #5 car overnight and several changes were made to both cars in preparation for races 2 & 3. Race 2 starting positions were based on fastest laps from Race 1, this placed Jim P5 and Austin P30 after receiving a 10-grid spot penalty. Austin had a much better start to Race 2 but encountered some minor front wing damage again during the very close battles for position. Austin was able to improve 10 positions to finish 20th. Jim had another hard fought battle at the front, constantly drafting and being drafted by, this time he came out in 5th, another solid, points paying finish.

Race 3 began just about an hour after Race 2 which created a whole different race in the paddock as the teams worked frantically to repair damages, debrief with their drivers, and make and changes to the cars. Primus Racing was able to get all the work done in time and the cars rolled to the grid to start P4 (Jim) and P24 (Austin).

Turn 3 Pack

Both drivers got off to strong starts and were both in good positions to improve. An early safety car allowed us to re-group and give the drivers another change to make some moves on the restart. Everyone in the 33 car field was paying attention as the green flag flew yet again. Jim was making solid progress until another driver made a very optimistic move down the inside of turn 2 and hit the left rear corner of Jim’s car, sending him off track. Jim was able to keep the car gathered up but fell to 11th in the process. Austin continued to maintain a solid, consistent pace and was clicking off positions one-by-one. Jim was able to fight back to finish 8th, keeping his streak alive as )the only driver to score points in every single F4 U.S. race to date (18 events as of 5/16/2017). Austin was able to improve to finish 16th, his best result of the weekend. Despite not scoring any points Austin kept his head help high and knew where he weekend went wrong and what we needed to do to improve!

The team has been working hard on everything from logistics to car prep for the past month as we prepare to race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway! Be sure to stay tuned in the coming weeks as we will keep you all up to date with the schedule as well as any other information about the weekend in Indy!

Primus Racing celebrates early season success!

This story started what feels like a year ago at the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, for the opening two rounds of the 2017 GPFour season! After getting a bit of a late start the team really worked well together to get the cars prepared and ready to be on track.

Justin Gordon’s new Primus Racing GPFour machine!

The weekend started with a quick practice session that the team was pleased with. We had done no testing prior to this event and had to rely on old notes an instincts to get the cars to the pointy end of the grid. The first race of the weekend had a very exciting start as our driver, Becker Reardon, was headed to the front very early on. A slight mistake resulting in a spin caused Becker to stall the car and he could not get it re-fired, ending his day early. Austin McCusker had a great first race placing 5th and gaining some good information for the team to use to make valuable improvements. Becker knew his car was capable of winning, as did Austin, and they were both ready to prove that point on Sunday for the final race of the weekend.

The 2nd and final race of the weekend began a lot like the first with very aggressive moves throughout the field as everyone tried to capitalize on everyone being so close before other classes caught the pack and made things more difficult. After a few laps of very intense racing the leaders encountered some traffic  and got tangled up with each other allowing all three Primus Racing machines to work into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The green flag flew for the restart and the Primus teammates were being smart, staying in line and using each others drafts to gain some room between themselves and the rest of the pack. Justin Gordon, driver of the Primus Racing #2, made a slight mistake while trying to move forward and fell into the clutches of the hard charging second group where he would fight and defend for the remainder of the event. All eyes then turned to the front where Becker and Austin were batting it out for the lead, swapping position multiple times per lap. Unfortunately, this allowed for the pack to catch up and Paul Schneider to slip by and take the win with Austin McCusker in second and Becker Reardon in third. Justin Gordon fought his way back to sixth and was happy to have learned a lot of good information for the team. The team was happy with the results but knew we had our work cut out for us as the series was expected to grow a bit for the next event at Sebring.

Becker Reardon after a hard fought second round.

Just a few short days later the team arrived for setup day in Sebring. A change in the driver lineup was to take place so the team worked to fit Flinn Lazier into the Primus Racing #6 entry. Everyone worked very hard and methodically through the test and practice days leading up to qualifying and Round 3 on Saturday afternoon. After the morning qualifying session it was discovered that the #16 car of Becker Reardon had encountered a critical gearbox failure that would not be repairable for the balance of the weekend. Becker and the team were  naturally not happy about this but were pleased that before the failure the #16 was on the pace and looking poised to take the fight to the front of the pack. The #6 of Flinn Lazier qualified second and the #2 of Justin Gordon qualified 6th after just having a new engine installed due to an engine failure on Friday.

The first race of the weekend (Round 3) was a thriller to say the least. After some good battles for the first half of the race a full course yellow came out giving everyone a very good opportunity to make up some ground they may have lost. With not much time left in the race this would be the pivotal moment of the race. The green flag was called and Flinn emerged in the lead with Justin in third. Both Flinn and Justin drove a great final stint and managed to keep both cars on the podium giving Primus Racing its first win and double podium of 2017, a great result for everyone on the team!

The final round of the weekend, Round 4 for the season, was sure to be an exciting race as well. The field took the green and fanned out down the front straight, Kerry Jacobson who started on pole was forced to the inside of the track to defend as everyone behind tried to work their way forward. Flinn took his #6 to the top of the track to get the best approach possible into turn 1 and was able to pull off the move and emerge into the lead! Headed into turn 1 just a lap later a suspension failure would end what looked to be his race to win. A few laps later a red flag was thrown due to some damage on course, bringing all the cars to pit lane. Justin Gordon was able to keep his streak of coming through the field alive and was stopped in the 4th position when the red was thrown. When the cars rolled off of pit lane there was still plenty of time left for Justin to continue his excellent drive. After another excellent restart he was able to hang on to 3rd position giving him two podium finishes for the weekend.

Primus Racing after Round 3 of the 2017 season.

It was definitely a crazy start to the 2017 season for everyone. If these races are any indication of how the rest of the 2017 edition of the GPFour championship will play out we are all in for a very exciting year! The series has a bit of time off now but will resume in March at Road Atlanta! Be sure to stay tuned, you won’t want to miss this!

For more information on the GPFour championship be sure to visit www.gpfourinfo.com!

Primus Racing has successful PRI 2016!

Over the weekend Primus Racing attended the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show and had a great time doing so!

It was great to catch up with everyone from Honda Racing/HPD as well as Max Crawford and his team, now known as Onroak Automotive U.S. The team also enjoyed catching up with everyone at SCCA Pro Racing, as well as several old colleagues and friends!

A major highlight of the show was the 2017 Formula 4 United States Championship schedule being formally announced as well as the plans for the start of U.S. Formula 3 (F3) in the very near future!

Overall, it was a very successful and enjoyable show for Primus. A massive F4 grid as well as new competitors and teams will make 2017 a year for the books! We are truly looking forward to the challenge that it will present and are ready to get the season started!

Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for more information on our 2017 Team & Driver lineup!

Nick and Derich at the 2017 Schedule Press Release