Robert (Robbie) Wickens of Toronto and Kyle Marcelli of Barrie are just two of a number of young Canadian rising stars who will be showing off their talent this weekend by driving in support races at the Grand Prix of Mosport.
Wickens in a car at Mosport is a big surprise. You should go out to the Bowmanville-area circuit just to watch this guy race. He could be in Formula One in a year or two.
Wickens, originally from Guelph, won the old Formula BMW-USA championship three years ago and the Red Bull energy drink company took him under its wing. Since then, he's turned heads in North American Formula Atlantic, the European World Series by Renault and European Formula 2, which is the FIA’s officially designated F1 feeder series. His return to the Atlantic series on Sunday will be a one-off.
Wickens will drive the No. 19 Genoa Racing entry in the 45-minute timed race that will go to the post at 11:55 a.m.
What’s interesting is that although the Atlantic race will feature a small field (fewer than 15 cars), it will include four potential Formula One drivers – Wickens, Jonathan Summerton, John Edwards and Simona De Silvestro.
Meantime, Marcelli has been one busy dude this racing season. At Mosport, he’ll drive the Intersport Racing entry in the IMSA Lites race – a series in which he’s won only one race this year but has always finished on the podium in the six races he’s entered.
Marcelli tested the team’s LMP1 prototype at Mid-Ohio three weeks ago and was hoping to do more testing at Mosport and perhaps even drive a stint in Sunday’s American Le Mans Series headliner but it was not to be.
"Obviously, some bills have to be covered and so I’ll have to wait," Marcelli said, alluding to the problem facing all up-and-coming racers: the lack of finance.
But "Jon Field (Intersport Racing owner) has treated me like gold this season," Marcelli said. "I took very little money into the team for what I’ve been able to do. I really am grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given."
In addition to his Intersport involvement, Marcelli revealed he’s been running the Skip Barber National Series in the U.S. – "primarily because first prize is $350,00 and I could make good use of that." He’s currently fourth in points with three races remaining.
"And I’m going to England in September for a shootout against 29 other drivers from around the world for a scholarship that will see the winner get a season in Formula BMW-U.K., a season in British Formula 3 and a season in the World Series by Renault.
"Peter Windsor (Speed TV F1 reporter and a principal in the new U.S. F1 project) and David Fleming (ex-Williams F1 marketing manager) are behind that program and I’m anxious to see how I stack up against those other drivers."
And if all of the above fails, Marcelli has made some contacts in Japan for a possible Formula 3 ride in that country.
I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing from – and about – Marcelli for some time to come.
Other Canadians who will see action this weekend:
– David Ostella of Maple and Michael Furfari of Toronto will be racing in the Star Mazda championship race.
– Gianmarco Raimondo and Alex Ellis, both of St. Catharines, will do battle in the final two races in the history of the Formula BMW-Americas championship. This series was axed at the same time that BMW announced it was leaving Formula One at the end of the 2009 season.
– Jake Thompson of Calgary, David Richert of Niverville, Man., and Andrew Cordeiro of Woodbridge will race in the VW Jetta TDI Cup.
– In addition to Marcelli, Michael Chlumecky of Windsor will race in the IMSA Lites contest.