IT was an Australia Day of sorts at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, when three Australian drivers – two of them from WA – filled the first three places in a recent heat of the USF2000 class on the Road America circuit.
Winner Anthony Martin (21) of Banksia Grove, now shares the championship lead, with seven races remaining in the 16-race season.
In second spot came Queenslander Jordan Lloyd, with Perth’s Luke Gabin third.
The three were the only Australians in the international field of 25.
USF2000 is a one-make category aimed at grooming drivers for the Indianapolis series.
The cars all have Van Diemen Elan chassis, 2-litre Mazda MZR engines, five-speed Hewland gearboxes and run on Cooper tyres.
The series champion gets a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to the Pro Mazda Championship, the next step on a defined path to reach the top echelons of the sport.
Martin, who had pole position on the 6.5km 14-turn Road America circuit, also won the second heat, with Brazil’s Victor Franzoni and Canadian Parker Thompson joining him on the podium.
Martin led both races from start to finish in his Burgess BLA-Cape Motorsports car to claim his fourth win in five starts.
He and teammate Thompson now share the championship lead on 217 points.
Martin’s mum, Lee-Anne, was almost as happy as her son after his victory.
“Anthony’s double victory happened on my birthday; I could not have wished for a better present,” she said.
In the US, Martin said his performance was a great confidence booster.
“I was a few points behind Parker and I knew I had my work cut out for me to get back into the championship hunt,” he said.
“This weekend could not have gone any better. The Cape Motorsports guys gave me a great car and the Mazda engines just pushed me through both races.
“To pull equal with Parker now means there will be some rivalry, but that’s racing.
“We’re great mates and we work well together, but, as soon as I put my helmet on, he’s just another competitor.”
The series heads next to the streets of Toronto on July 15-17.