Thomas Nepveu Finishes Eighth in his USF2000 Debut
 April 18, 2021| 
  • Team News
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OKA, Que., Canada – Thomas Nepveu drove this weekend in his first two official races of the Cooper Tires USF2000 series on the technical circuit of Barber Motorsports Park, at the wheel of his #2 Cromwell | Karting Excellence | Home Hardware car. Starting the two races from 16th and 12th positions, Thomas crossed the finish line in 13th and reached a personal objective by finishing eighth in the second race of the weekend.

Weekend Activities

The Road to Indy organizers scheduled three practice sessions on Thursday (15 April), totaling 150 minutes on the track. This was valuable time for Thomas Nepveu and his Cape Motorsports team as they learned to work together. Two qualifying sessions of 20 minutes each on Friday (16 April) were then used to determine the starting positions for the two races on Saturday, the first of 20 laps and the second of 25 laps. The second race late on Saturday afternoon was in fact shortened by five laps and delayed due to a technical problem in the control tower.

The work done by Thomas Nepveu and his team enabled him to cut his lap times by one second compared to the fastest drivers, recording a lap within 0.5307 seconds of the driver on pole position for race 2. Nineteen of the 26 drivers qualified within a second of the pole-sitter for the second race.

Thomas Nepveu Talks About the On-Track Action

Practice

"The first session on Thursday morning started on a wet track that gradually dried out and I was able to break in new brake discs and pads, then push a little on a wet track with well worn tires. For the second session, we used the same set of well used tires as the car kept getting better and better. Only 11 drivers participated in the third session as the others chose to save their tires for qualifying and the races. We did only four laps on new tires to check the front/rear balance of the car."

Qualifying
“The car was good on worn tires in Q1. With a few minutes to go, we mounted a set of new tires, but the session was unfortunately stopped for an accident before I could put in a quick time. In Q2 we waited 6 minutes before going out on fresh tires, and despite caution periods, we set a time within 0.5 seconds of the Q2 pole-sitter. I am confident of finding 3 or 4 tenths of a second in the last few corners and we are ready for the races tomorrow."

Races
“Starting 16th on the grid for the first race wasn't too bad as I took the inside at turn one. I held my position for the first lap and then got into an incident on lap 2 and managed to hold my position for the restart on lap 6. However, the car was understeering, and I was forced to brake earlier than the driver in front of me. Even though the slipstream works on the straights, I lost time under braking and could not get past the others. We were 13th in the end and the goal is to fix the understeer problem for the second race," explained the driver of the #2 Cromwell | Karting Excellence | Home Hardware.

“Starting from 12th place for the 20-lap final race 2, I had an intense time from start to finish, especially when protecting my 8th position on the last lap of the race. I was able to learn a lot of things, such as the intensity of the competition with drivers always around me, the need for total concentration at all times, the reliance on my spotter and on my mirrors rather than just turning my head like in a kart, I also saw the benefits of less worn tires at the end of the race, and we will work harder on tire management for the next races. I achieved my goal for the weekend: a top-10 finish, plus some small personal victories like actually overtaking another driver in the race rather than inheriting a position because of an incident or mistake. I feel that the team and I have made a lot of progress since the first practice and I am completely satisfied with our race performance at this stage."
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