USF2000 Winterfest Win for Afterburner Autosport
 March 3, 2014| 
  • Team News
Franzoni visited victory lane in Louisiana, while Myasava and Slaghekke add top-10s in Alabama

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – Afterburner Autosport has started its 2014 quest for top honors in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda program with a race-winning performance in the Cooper Tires Winterfest for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Brazilian rookie Victor Franzoni made an immediate impression with the Minnesota-based team during the six-race series, winning and adding a podium finish at NOLA Motorsports Park (February 21-22), before traveling to Barber Motorsports Park (February 25-26) and notching another top-three result. Dutch series returnee Jeroen Slaghekke and Brazilian rookie Gustavo Myasava added top-10s, setting the stage for a strong start to the full USF2000 Championship campaign.

The primary focus of the annual Winterfest series is preparation for the upcoming championship season. That being said, every driver and team wants to be in the mix for race wins. Given Afterburner Autosport had ended the 2013 campaign with two trips to victory lane, and was the team to beat at the conclusion of the year-end Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test, the three-car outfit was poised to do just that.

Franzoni wasted little time getting up to speed around the 2.75-mile NOLA road course outside of New Orleans, turning the third best lap in the lone qualifying session. That, however, was just a precursor of what was to come, as the former European Formula Renault racer showcased both pace and racecraft en route to a win in his series debut. The 18 year-old further highlighted his talents in race two of the triple bill, challenging for the win yet again, before crossing the line in second. Franzoni was poised to make it three trips to the podium in the NOLA finale, however, an off-course excursion ended his race after 10 laps.

"I'm really, really happy," said Franzoni. "It's been three years since I won my last race [in Formula Future in Brazil], so it feels great to win again. I'm still learning the car, but it feels really good. I think we made a good start to the season, so let's see if we can keep it going."

For Slaghekke and Myasava, the New Orleans tripleheader proved to be a learning experience. Both racers focused on gaining valuable seat time and information during the three outings, steadily developing their driving and cars, highlighted by a top-10 for Myasava in Round Two.

A mere three days later, the skilled trio was back behind the wheel of their Afterburner Autosport machines, taking to the undulating 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park track. Taking advantage of previous track time during the December Mazda Road to Indy test, both Franzoni and Slaghekke were among the top-10 in qualifying. Franzoni promptly converted his starting position into another superb outing in race one, taking the checkered flag in third place. This, however, proved to be the high point of his event, as he was unable to complete race two and did not take part in race three following an incident in the second practice run.

Slaghekke continued his re-acclimation to the driver's seat after being out of the cockpit for five months, taking home a top-10 finish in Round Five.

"The Winterfest was very productive," commented Slaghekke. "After five months out of the car, it was great to get some running in, and get some of the rust off. We solved a lot of issues, and I put a lot of laps in, which was the goal for me. I'm looking forward to the start of the full season."

Myasava, who is making his North American debut this season after racing F3 in his native Brazil, further worked on car and driver development in Alabama, showcasing good racecraft in the three races.

Afterburner Autosport now continues preparations for the start of the 2014 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season. The action gets underway on March 29-30, with Rounds One and Two on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series season-opener.

Additional information on Afterburner Autosport is available from the team’s website, For direct contact, please email or call Brian Tomasi @ 630-251-1709 or Tim Walsh @ 612-581-2499.

Keep up to date via Twitter @ABautosport1 and Facebook page @ Afterburner Autosport

Learn more about Victor Franzoni at and keep up to date via Twitter @VictorFranzoni and Facebook @ Victor Franzoni

Learn more about Jeroen Slaghekke at and keep up to date via Twitter @JeroenSlaghekke, Facebook @ Jeroen Slaghekke Racing, and YouTube @ Jeroen Slaghekke


About Afterburner Autosport:
Afterburner Autosport was formed in 2010 with the sole purpose of leading the way in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda competition. Under the guidance of two-time SCCA Formula Continental National Champion Brian Tomasi and fellow F2000 racer and engineer Tim Walsh, the team has over 20 years of experience in open-wheel competition. The Minnesota, Min.-based squad, having captured two podium finishes in its inaugural pro racing season in 2011, has continually developed and grown as it joined the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. In 2013, Afterburner Autosport scored its inaugural series wins with rookie Alex Baron. The highly regarded team returns to the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy program in 2014 via a talented multi-car effort.
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