By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
During the offseason after the 2016 racing season, Cape Motorsports underwent some changes both big and small.
The largest change was that the team decided to expand their operations further down the ladder by expanding into the F4 United States Championship. Team co-owner Nicholas Cape explained the teams’ reason for expanding during the F4 U.S. testing at NOLA Motorsports Park.
“Well, pretty much it’s for our internal ladder system. There’s a gap between karting and USF2000- USF2000’s quite a big step so there’s something needed to be in between that and we feel that F4 filled that bill cost wise and (with the) performance of the car, so that’s why we did it.”
The plan is for the team to take drivers from the F4 car and move them to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda but that won’t be easy. The team only owns one of the new Tatuus USF-17s but will have two drivers.
“We have one car, the other’s a customer owned car so we have two cars,” Cape said.
The team is running in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires for 2017 but as of right now doesn’t have plans to join the championship in 2018 with the PM-18 that is based off of the USF-17.
“It’s a possibility. We’re not going to close the door on it but it could happen. It depends on how this year goes with the new cars. We predominantly like to take the really young kids and get them through the first couple of steps and there’s plenty of other teams that do Indy Lights and stuff like that and they can go from there to those guys. We’re quite happy doing that, it’s a lot less stressful.”
So does that mean the team is not interested in Indy Lights?
“[We’re] not interested. It’s the driver market, money, budget, and to be honest with you, we don’t really have any interest in that. We have another business that we do and that’s Cape Brothers Speed Shop and we build hot rods and so F4, USF2000 and Pro Mazda we’re quite happy to do that. We’ve been up the ladder before and to be honest it doesn’t interest us.”
Another small change the team has made is that it seems the partnership with Wayne Taylor Racing has ended. While nothing official has been said, judging from the language in the press release for Ricky Donison’s signing for the 2017 USF2000 season, Wayne Taylor Racing was not mentioned at all during the press release and the teams’ Facebook page changed names.
The 2017 racing season for Cape Motorsports begins with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend March 10-12.