By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
2015 was an incredible year for Nico Jamin.
The Frenchman won had the Cooper Tires USF2000 championship powered by Mazda and went to the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires for the same team, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing for 2016.
Unfortunately for the 20-year-old Frenchman, Team Pelfrey’s juggernaut of Aaron Telitz and Pato O’Ward had the field covered for the most part, relegating Jamin to third in the title race, but let’s take a look at how his championship went.
Jamin’s 2016 Pro Mazda campaign began with a pair of fourths at St. Petersburg and that would be the best race weekend he would have for the first half of the season. Team Pelfrey had a 1-2 in the first race with Jamin’s teammate, Jake Eidson, scoring a third in the first race of the year while Pelfrey ruled the podium completely in race two.
At Barber Motorsports Park, Jamin had a less than stellar first race with a sixth but was able to claw his way to a fourth in the second race behind Telitz, O’Ward and Juncos Racing’s Garett Grist.
The Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing driver’s quest to be the best of the rest was helped at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course after Juncos Racing had two different drivers score third place finishes in the two races that weekend while Jamin was fifth and fourth in the races respectively.
Lucas Oil Raceway was the only oval race in 2016 and it did not treat Jamin well. After scoring a runner-up finish at the Brownsburg, IN oval in 2015, a set of tires that was not well suited to Jamin’s car cost him a chance at being competitive and set him back to seventh.
Road America would be a mixed bag weekend for the 20-year-old. Contact in the first race of the weekend between Jamin and another car resulted in damage to the 2015 USF2000 champion’s front wing and a tenth place finish in race one. However in race two, the Soul Red entry was able to finish second after a brilliant opening lap dice with Juncos Racing’s Jake Parsons.
Jamin then had his best race weekend of the year to that point at Toronto. In the opening race of the weekend, there was contact with O’Ward that sent O’Ward out of the race while Jamin continued to a second place finish. However, Jamin would only manage a third in the second race of the weekend behind Telitz and O’Ward.
Things would only get better for the Cape Motorsports pilot as Mid Ohio Sports Car Course would help Jamin secure a high points position in the championship. He won both races at Mid Ohio as three different teams scored podium results in both races at Telitz and Juncos Racing’s Will Owen each had a second and third at the Lexington, Ohio road course.
That race weekend set the stage for the final race weekend of the year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca but Jamin’s results took a back seat to the championship contenders as he scored a pair of fourths and a third in California.
Jamin tested an Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for Andretti Autosport where he led four of the eight sessions.
If Jamin goes to Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires next year and wins a race, he will then become the fifth driver to win in all three series on the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires after Jay Howard, Sage Karam, Matthew Brabham and Spencer Pigot.