Epps Adds Top-Five to USF2000 Championship Resume in California
 September 10, 2013| 
  • Team News
USF2000-news
Belardi Auto Racing up-and-comer showcased pace during first-ever visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

ST. ALBANS, ENGLAND – Michael Epps raced at one of his 'bucket list' tracks this past weekend (September 7-8), exiting the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda doubleheader at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a hard fought top-five finish. The British rising talent is now focused on ending his debut campaign with another strong drive for Belardi Auto Racing during the season-finale in Texas.


With the 2013 USF2000 Championship season fast drawing to close, Epps was looking forward to closing out his inaugural season of racing in North America with some strong results. As an added bonus the penultimate event on the series calendar featured a visit to the renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course in northern California, a track the rising British talent has wanted to compete on since first getting behind the wheel of a formula car.


As planned, the opening three test sessions on Friday were spent getting familiar with the 2,238-mile track and its vast elevation changes, and fine tuning the handling of the No. 44 P1 Sports Management/UNATION/iRacing Motorsport Simulations/Anytime Fitness UK racing steed. While Epps and the skilled Belardi Auto Racing crew never found the 'sweet spot' during the day's activities, confidence remained high both in and out of the cockpit.


The 21 year-old Epps, never one to stop looking at improving, promptly did just that when the action officially commenced one day later via a morning practice run, turning the sixth best time. The former British Formula Vee Championship runner-up remained part of the lead pack in the subsequent qualifying session, securing a row four starting position for the late day race with the eighth quickest lap.

Rolling back on-course for Round 11, Epps was aware that getting a good launch when the green flag waved was key, given the lack of true passing zones. Epps ultimately did just that, expertly maneuvering his Belardi Auto Racing entry into fourth by the exit of the turn one hairpin. While initially able to hold the position, it quickly became apparent that No. 44 racer was not quite right, with a lack of straight-line speed not only preventing Epps from making further forward progress but also resulting in increasing pressure from behind. Epps in the end was unable to retain his P4 place, taking the checkered flag in a hard fought fifth place.

Returning to the driver's seat one day later, Epps lined-up 11th - the grid being set by each racer's fast lap from race one or qualifying time - for race two of the twin bill. Unfortunately getting the green flag proved to be the highlight of his race, as prior to the completion of the opening tour his race came an abrupt halt due to a broken differential. The likely cause of his loss of speed in race one as well.

"To leave Laguna Seca with a top-five and having shown good speed, given where we started the weekend is a good result," commented Epps. "While I would have loved to have been fighting for a podium in race one and gotten to run in race two with the setup changes we'd made, I've still really enjoyed driving at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It's a track I've wanted to race at since the start of my career. Now I'm focused on Houston and ending the season with a trip to the podium."

Epps' rookie season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda comes to a close on October 5-6, when Rounds 13 and 14 take place on the streets around Reliant Park in Houston, Texas.

Those interested in supporting Michael Epps’ pursuit of the upper echelons of motorsports are encouraged to contact him directly @ michael.epps@live.co.uk to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

Learn more about Michael Epps through his social media outlets:


Website: MichaelEpps.co.uk


Twitter: MichaelEppsRace


Facebook: MichaelEppsRacing


YouTube: MichaelEppsUK

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About Michael Epps:
Born in St. Albans, England, Epps, who also retains New Zealand citizenship, first got behind the wheel at the age of 13, racing at his local kart club. Displaying talent right from the get go, he won multiple races in his rookie season. Advancing up to the Rotax Junior ranks in 2006, he captured the London Cup at Rye House, and finished second in the Brazilian Cup prior to making the move to Senior Rotax, where he scored the win in his class debut at a Rye House club event. Following another London Cup win and a runner-up finish in a Le Mans 24-hour kart race, Epps tested his first formula car in 2010. Transitioning to car competition in 2011, the teenager finished second in the British Formula Vee Championship. Epps further advanced up the junior formula car ladder in 2012, contesting the Formula Renault BARC UK Championship, earning five consecutive top-10 finishes to end the season.

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