Frenchman Jamin Wins First North American Series Title
 March 16, 2015| 
  • Team News

MIAMI, FLA. - While most American race fans were still battling with winter conditions and the open-wheel racing teams were still working on budgets, driver and machine selection, a championship named “Cooper Tires Winterfest” was taking place on two American racetracks: NOLA Motorsports Park, near New Orleans, Louisiana, and Barber Motorsports Park, near Birmingham, Alabama. 

The Winterfest holds special significance, since both venues also will host rounds of the “regular season” championships which begin on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 28-29. This year’s Winterfest contestants had to complete three races at NOLA on February 19, and then switch over to Barber the following Wednesday, February 25, to compete for an enhanced prize fund totaling $50,000 and early bragging rights.

This year, a 19-year-old Frenchman, who landed from his native Rouen, France a year before to pursue his childhood dream of racing in America, was entered in the 2015 Cooper Tires Winterfest. Nicolas Jamin, nicknamed Nico, came to New Orleans with great ambitions and the determination to start writing the pages of his own personal racing history book.

Jamin, driving the No. 2 Synova Automotive Eco-Plastics USF2000 Mazda, and his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing team did not lose much time putting pressure on his direct competitors for the Winterfest crown by topping the first practice at NOLA. Throughout the three events scheduled at this year’s event, Jamin took the conservative “step by step” approach, with one fixed goal in mind: winning the 2015 Winterfest. He pulled in third in the 30-minute Race 1, and he finished second in Race 2. In Race 3, Jamin, who was battling for a top spot in the race, was run off the track by another contender, and was not able to finish.

A week after NOLA, Jamin traveled to Alabama to compete in Race 4 and 5 of the Cooper Tires Winterfest. The Frenchman qualified second for the first of the two Barber races and ultimately finished third in the race. At that point Jamin, whose coach former F1 driver Eric van de Poele advised him on how to prepare for this five-race open-wheel pre-season mini-series, knew he needed to win the last race to clinch his first North American championship. He had a great start from the second row and, after an epic race, crossed the finish line first as Winterfest Champion, ahead of Brazilian Victor Franzoni who finished second. This was Jamin’s first ever win in North America.

“Obviously I’m very happy to have won the 2015 USF2000 Winterfest,” said Jamin. “We did a great job of preparation with Cape Motorsports this winter so we were straight at the top when we arrived at Winterfest. We were very consistent in the top three, and I think that’s the key to win a championship. The first goal of the Winterfest was to prepare for the main championship. We came here with Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, to keep improving our pace, consistency and keep learning how to work together before the beginning of the championship. One of our goals was to be at the top, and get victories, but it wasn’t the first goal of the Winterfest. We worked very well and stayed focused during the two weeks.  We didn’t make any mistakes, we were always in the top three and improved our pace every single session to finally get our first win in the last race. We were super happy to get the win at Barber and the championship team and driver titles. It makes us very confident and very motivated for the beginning of the championship at St. Petersburg next week.”

Along with Simon Pagenaud, Sébastien Bourdais, Timothé Buret and Florian Latorre, Nicolas “Nico” Jamin, is one of the five members of the elite French group of racers competing in North American open-wheel in 2015.  Like his peers in the last decade, Jamin is looking to advance his North American racing career through a “Mazda Road to Indy” path that includes racing in key open-wheel series with the ultimate goal of competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. 

Jamin’s dream is to walk in Jules Goux’s footsteps and be the third Frenchman to win the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500. Goux was the first Frenchman to win the Indianapolis 500 in 1913 with a French Peugeot race car and was followed in 1914 by René Thomas in a French Delage race car. No Frenchman has won the most coveted North American open wheel race in the last 100 years.

Last year marked the debut of Jamin’s North American career when he started racing in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. He had a stunning start and scored a podium finish on the streets of St. Petersburg in his first ever American race. Jamin competed in 14 races in 2014 and scored 10 top-10 finishes, including two top-five finishes and finished ninth in the season point standings.

For the 2015 season, Jamin was hired to drive one of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing’s racecars in USF2000. Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing has won the 2012, 2013 and 2014 USF2000 team championships and is looking to continue the tradition in 2015. 

The next time the USF2000 cars will see action is for the opening two rounds of the season on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 28-29.

Before the St. Petersburg event, Jamin will compete in his first IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites championship race at the iconic Sebring International Raceway next week with ANSA Motorsports, which won the championship in 2013. This will mark Jamin’s first non open-wheel race in the USA.

Follow Nico Jamin all season on his website: www.nicojamin.com, on Facebook at www.facebook/nicojamin and on Twitter @Nico_Jamin.
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