Cape Motorsports Ready for USF2000 Season Opener
 April 12, 2021| 
  • Team News
Cape Barber Preview 2021 (002)

Road to Indy Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park offers final prep time for the 14-time championship team
LEEDS, Ala. – With over 500 laps and an immense amount of learning in the books, Cape Motorsports and its four-driver lineup closed the door on last weekend’s Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires Spring Training and began final preparations for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship’s season opener this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.

Five test sessions over two days at the 2.3-mile Birmingham, Ala.-area road course capped off a busy late winter and early spring testing regimen for the 14-time championship winning team. With tests at Putnam Park (near Indianapolis), New Jersey Motorsports Park and at Barber, drivers Michael d’Orlando (Hartsdale, NY), Spike Kohlbecker (Kirkwood, Mo.), Thomas Nepveu (Oka, Quebec, Canada), and Evan Stamer (Glen Carbon, Ill.) honed their skills behind the wheel of the Tatuus USF-17.

Sophomore driver d’Orlando – who finished fourth in the 2020 series standings – holds the moniker of “elder statesman” at the tender age of 19, with Kohlbecker (18), Nepveu (16) and Stamer (19) entering their first year of USF2000 competition.

The official series test at Barber marked the first opportunity the team and drivers had to see how they stack up against the highly competitive USF2000 field. With Barber earning a reputation as a tricky track to learn due to tight corners, elevation changes and significant G-forces, the team took advantage of the opportunity to test a multitude of setups ahead of the upcoming race weekend.

The Cape brothers have a vast database of knowledge from Barber Motorsports Park, having earned victories in five of eight USF2000 races there from 2014 to 2017. The last time the series made an appearance at Barber, Oliver Askew captured both pole positions and race victories for the team on his way to the championship title in 2017.

"We had a very busy two days running through our run plans,” said Dominic and Nicholas Cape. “Everyone ended up quite happy, we're looking forward to the race weekend and the start of the season."

Cape Motorsports and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship head to Barber Motorsports Park this weekend for the season opener, racing alongside the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Tune into or the Road to Indy TV app for all the action!

MICHAEL D’ORLANDO – No. 4 Focused Project Management/UFC Gym
Fastest time:  1:21.5406 in Test Session 3 (12th overall)

Driver Quote: “The test was very productive. We learned a lot about the car, a lot about the track. We’d tested here before but we’re trying to test everything we possibly can before the race weekend. I was super happy with how things went; we made a lot of progress. We have more in our back pocket but of course, everyone else does as well! The track is fast and fun, like a roller coaster, and it’s so fun. I learned a lot this week about keeping up my minimum speed. I’m taking all the effort I put in last year, all the things I learned. There are a lot of fast drivers in the series so it will definitely be a fight for every win.”
THOMAS NEPVEU – No. 2 Cromwell/Karting Excellence/Home Hardware
Fastest time:  1:22.3165 in Test Session 4 (21st overall)

Driver Quote: “We had a good few days of learning last week. I’ll have to work harder between now and the first race, so I’ll look at data and video to gain a bit of speed. But it’s been a good experience. With all the elevation changes and blind corners, you really need to trust the car and trust that the road is there! You have to have 100% confidence. It’s great to work with Cape Motorsports: I have good data and good teammates, and that helps me on and off the track.”
SPIKE KOHLBECKER – No. 5 Ignite Autosport/Raceway Gives/Tierpoint
Fastest time: 1:21.4872 in Test Session 3 (11th overall)

Driver Quote: “We worked a lot on setup last weekend and really dialed in some things, car-wise and driving-wise. You never stop learning, on and off track, and that’s what we did last weekend. I’m interested to see where everyone stacks up and where I stack up against the field when we come back here. I’m working on different racing lines and working on the different quirks of the track. I’ve driven here many times and I know how quickly the track changes, and you have to adapt to that. It takes a lot of work and development to earn the number of championships that the team has and they’ve really shown that this week.”
EVAN STAMER – No. 3 Ignite Autosport/Margay Racing
Fastest time:  1:22.0362 in Test Session 3 (20th overall)

Driver Quote: “That was my first time on track as a full series event, and it was intense! But the Cape guys got me dialed in and comfortable very quickly. We tried a lot of things and I think we’re in a good place as we get ready for the first races of the year. One of my biggest challenges coming into the series was learning the car’s downforce, how to get off the corner properly – and this track really hurts you if you can’t do that. That was a focus last weekend and I feel as though we’re up to pace. It gives me a great deal of confidence, working with a team like Cape. I’ll focus on doing my best and getting as much experience as I can this season!”

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