Morcom Set for North American Debut with Primus Racing
 March 1, 2011| 
  • Team News
USF2000-news
Courtesy of eformulacarnews.com:

The racing career of Australian Nathan Morcom is set to move up a gear in 2011, as he has signed with Primus Racing to contest the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda.

The 18 year-old up-and-coming racer will make his North American racing debut with former pro F2000 champion Primus Racing in 2011, piloting a Van Diemen following a 2010 campaign that featured action in four different categories.

Morcom began last season by contesting the first half of New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series. He left the series early to return to Australia in time for his second national Formula Ford Championship campaign, with detours to the Eastern Creek rounds of the Australian F3 Championship, and an eight-hour production touring car race at the same Sydney circuit.

“Last year was a ‘try it and see’ exercise in many ways,” Morcom said. “Although I did the full Australian Formula Ford Championship, I was already focusing on moving up to the next level in 2011. Driving a ‘wings and slicks’ car for the first time in New Zealand was a steep learning curve, but I managed a seventh placing in only my fifth TRS race. More important was the discovery that this type of car suited my driving style better than a Formula Ford. That was confirmed when I drove the F3 car. My lack of experience was a disadvantage in qualifying, but eighth, sixth and fourth placings in the three races were very encouraging. I kept my hand in at the end of the year by co-driving a BMW 335i to second place in the Eastern Creek Eight-Hour. We beat four of the five all-wheel-drive turbos in the race – that was satisfying!”

While Morcom is already looking forward to getting back into a 'wings and slicks' car, he acknowledged that the season-opener at Sebring International Raceway will be no cake-walk.

“USF2000 is part of the INDYCAR's Mazda Road to Indy driver development program, so there is bound to be a top class field at Sebring,” he said. “Everyone will be trying that much harder with the ALMS teams there, but as a rookie I’ll be concentrating on being competitive and staying out of trouble rather than going for glory.”

Morcom added that choosing Primus Racing, managed by Jon Baytos, was a no-brainer.

“Jon is an American racing icon,” he said. “He’s done it all as a team manager, from ‘development’ categories like F2000 all the way up to Indy Cars. He had a hand in the careers of Buddy Rice, Dan Wheldon and Sam Hornish Jr., who all won the Indianapolis 500, and last year he helped Daniel Erickson win Rookie of the Year in the F2000 Championship Series. I’m looking forward to learning a lot from Jon this year.”

After the Sebring event, which takes place on March 17-18, as part of the historic Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring event, Morcom will barely have time to catch his breath before the next USF2000 event in St Petersburg, Fla. the following weekend (March 26-27). That race meeting, on a street circuit through the Florida city, will be headlined by the opening round of the 2011 Indy Car Series.
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