Nepveu Happy with USF2000 Learning Season at Cape Motorsports
 October 3, 2021| 
  • Team News
Second in the Rookie of the Year Championship

Thomas Nepveu and his #2 Cromwell | Karting Excellence | Home Hardware car prepared by Cape Motorsports were at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend for the two-race weekend that closed out the 2021 Cooper Tires USF2000 Series. After finishing seventh and eight in the Saturday and the Sunday races respectively, Nepveu finished in second position in the Rookie of the Year championship.

Overall, the young driver was satisfied with his season (one win, three top-five's, ten top-10's). “We had a good season with the victory at Road America and the tough battle for the Rookie of the Year title. I learned a lot about racing in various track conditions and on different layouts. My bad weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park cost me a lot in points, but we had a good season with its ups-and-downs. In the end, I am certainly happy with what we learned and our performance,” shares Nepveu.

Thomas Nepveu’s Point of View

Race 1 – 7th Place Finish
The Saturday morning practice session, held on a very cold track, went according to plan given that the team was using tires from a previous event to help set up the car in race situation. With no track time on Friday, there was limited track-time, and everyone had to push right from the start. Qualifying went as expected, as Nepveu and his #2 Cromwell | Karting Excellence | Home Hardware team ended up ninth, only 0,4722 sec off the pole position time.

“I was pleased with the results of the morning practice session. It took me a few laps to get back into my comfort zone after a month away from the USF2000 car before starting to push harder. It was really cold as everybody had trouble getting some heat into the tires so they would get the correct temperature and the car was handling properly. In the end, we did not work on the settings as it was too cold, but I did see a few things that we needed to work on for the qualifying session. We used two sets of new tires in qualifying, like all the other front runners, and worked my way into ninth place for the start of the race in the middle of a very tight pack. In the race, I gained one position and dropped two on an early restart and stayed in 10th spot from lap 3 to 10, putting in quicker and quicker lap times until a caution came out on lap 11. I restarted from P8 and moved to P7 where I finished with cars less than 0.5 sec in front and behind me. I am happy with how things went for me on this very cold day," said the rookie after Race 1.

Race 2 – 8th Place Finish
The wet Sunday morning qualifying session was cancelled because of the time it took to repair the track after an accident on the third lap of the session. This meant that the times from the session did not represent reality in terms of pace of drivers as they were still feeling out their cars and the wet surface, as well as the effectiveness of any “wet” suspension settings they may have chosen.

The organisers thus decided to set the grid positions based on the lap times set during the Saturday race, a smart decision given the circumstances, and placing Thomas Nepveu 11th on the grid for Race 2.

“After an extra formation lap to give us a chance to see where any puddles were, I had a good start that moved me to eighth place from an early restart. I moved up to seventh and then lost places as I went off the road on lap 10 and managed to get back on the track in the 11th spot. An incident and a late-race caution allowed me to move back up to eighth place, where I finished the race, I spent the race in bad to horrible visibility conditions driving over 200 kph while always looking from side to side for a better view in front of me and judging my position based on the bright lights from the cars in front of me when I caught a glimpse of them,” added Nepveu after the race.

Thomas Nepveu’s Progress Over the 2021 Season

Thomas Nepveu made excellent progress over the season according to Dominic Cape, the leader of Cape Motorsports, and Coy Arbour, his Sporting Manager, who has accompanied Thomas Nepveu in his development for over seven years now, first in karts and this year into single-seaters.

“We expected a lot from Thomas for this first single-seater season. The rookie kept a positive attitude throughout the 18 races, striving to attain and exceed the goals that were set for him over the season, such as successively top-15, then top-10 and top-five finishes which he delivered over the season. The team also scored a victory, an important milestone in his development, and perhaps a balm that makes up for finishing second to one of his teammates in the Rookie of the Year competition. We know that Thomas needs to improve on his qualifying runs, as passing is difficult in the USF2000 cars, and better grid spots will put him in a much better position to finish regularly in the top-five and on the podium.” said Coy Arbour after the race.

Cape Motorsports president, Dominic Cape, was also happy with Nepveu’s performance. “Thomas had a hard-fought season. He got his first win at Road America and has fought tooth-and-nail in every race. He always moves forward. I think it was a great learning year for him and with the proper winter testing program, I believe he will be challenging for wins next year.”    
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