Catching Up with Alex Baron
 October 25, 2018| 
  • Series News
Catching up with Alex Baron 2018

For Frenchman Alex Baron, 2019 marks a watershed moment: with plans already in place to join the new Legacy Autosport team in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, Baron will be competing in his first full season of open wheel racing since he made his initial formula car outing in 2012.

Knowing where he’ll be next year, with five months still to go before the season begins, is a source of pride and relief for the 23-year-old.

“It is such a relief to know that this group of people has gathered all their resources and put all their trust into me for 2019,” said Baron. “I’m so grateful. I cannot thank our sponsor, Metalloid, and Legacy Autosport enough for helping me pursue my dream. I’m so glad to be here – the Mazda Road to Indy is the best ladder series in the world.

Legacy Autosport made their series debut at last month’s Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – a track that holds special memories for the Meyer family behind the Legacy name. The late Louis Meyer was the first three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, and his great-grandson, Louis “Mike” Meyer continues that tradition, founding the team with his father, Louis “Butch” Meyer. Mike Meyer has an extensive career on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, earning five Indy Lights championships and four Freedom 100 victories at that famed Brickyard.

The younger Meyer first worked with Baron at Belardi Auto Racing in 2014, as Meyer guided Gabby Chaves to a Freedom 100 victory and the series championship with Baron as teammate for the first half of the season. Baron is thankful to have Meyer at the helm as the team forges a new path with metal working fluids experts Metalloid Corporation as the main sponsor.

“Mike was my chief mechanic last season and the fruits of success last year made it an easy choice to pair up again this year. We’re starting from scratch, so we’re still putting everything together. But I know we have all the basics to make this a success.”

The son of Liverpool, England natives, Baron grew up in Southern France (which makes for a very interesting accent!) He began his racing career in the European karting ranks, graduating to French F4 and Formula Renault in 2012. He came to America in 2013 for the final four USF2000 races, scoring two victories and a pole position. He moved up to Indy Lights in 2014 and earned three podiums including a victory at Toronto during an abbreviated season.

Without budget to continue after the Toronto event, Baron returned to France and worked for three years as a karting mechanic, salesman and home builder to make ends meet, before returning to America toward the end of the 2017 season to help ArmsUp Motorsports in the USF2000 series. He drove a partial season this year, and was the only driver to score a victory over eventual series champion Kyle Kirkwood, taking wins at St. Petersburg, Fla. (while setting new race and qualifying track records) and Indianapolis.

“Things came together at the last minute before St. Pete and it was basically a one-off, so there were really no expectations. But I never go into a weekend thinking I can’t win. It’s not just because I’m competitive: people are invested into the program and into me, and that creates extra motivation for me to deliver the performance needed to win.

“I don’t mind going back to USF2000 – after the three-year break, I didn’t expect to just go straight back to Indy Lights,” continued Baron. “This is all for the best. The positive side is that the deal is done now for next season, so I won’t have to leave each race weekend wondering whether or not I’m going to the next race weekend. All I need to focus on is getting the Legacy Autosport logo up front and making everyone proud.”

Baron and the team set the third quickest time at the Griffis Test, and has set about an off-season program to fill out the crew ranks and fully prepare for the 2019 season. As Baron notes, it is a brand-new team, but one filled with experience, and every team member making a contribution to the team’s progress.

“What feels good about this team is that I’m so involved in the program. It’s really nice to have input, that everyone listens to each other. We’re still evaluating crew and that process is going really well, with everyone involved. The Chris Griffis test went really well and it was a good first outing for the team. I feel as though we have progressed enormously, learning all the time.

“We might be a new team, but we have Mike and his dad Butch, who are so well known and have so much experience. I feel very honored to work under the Meyer name. I’ve known Mike since my Indy Lights days, but I didn’t understand how important the name was. It’s only been this year that we bonded properly, and it struck me what their history was. To be a part of Legacy Autosport is an honor. The crew guys have a great deal of experience as well, most have come from Indy Lights and other high ends of motorsports. We know what to do and what we expect from one another, so we can just go out and enjoy it. If you enjoy it, the results come.

Baron, living in Port Washington, Wisconsin, has been keeping busy during the off season, putting his former skills to work by helping to renovate a friend’s house. But as the team puts together its testing schedule and fills out its crew roster, Baron knows that the 2019 season is right around the corner. And he can’t wait to get started.

“Our goal is to win the championship, but that’s everyone’s goal. I think we’ll have to work hard every event and really want it – and we do.”

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