As it is with almost all the tracks on the 2023 USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires calendar, the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) will provide new challenges for TJ Speed. Entering rookie drivers Lirim Zendeli and Francesco Pizzi, the duo will see action at the Austin, Texas facility for the first time this weekend as the 2023 series enters the penultimate weekend.
With a tight points battle between the second to eighth-place drivers in the championship standings, Pizzi and Zendeli sit sixth and seventh respectively. While the two are separated by a mere 12 points, Pizzi is currently 17 markers out of second while Zendeli is 29. With five wheel-to-wheel races remaining, including two this weekend at COTA and a triple header next weekend to conclude the series, anything can happen.
“The championship is out of sight for the most part but there is still a lot to play for,” explained Tim Neff, who is currently in Japan working with drivers in the Super Formula program. “We have had much success this year as a rookie team with rookie drivers, but we want to finish the season strong. We had a good test at COTA earlier this year and hopefully can turn that speed into success this weekend.”
COTA provides a unique challenge for drivers as the second-longest track on the calendar provides several overtaking opportunities. With 20 turns scattered over 3.41 miles, the draft will play a major factor as drivers look to find the optimum setup for speed and consistency.
Neff added, “We have performed well on the natural terrain road courses, and I think heading into this weekend, we have as good of a shot as anyone. With our goals set for where we would like to end the season in the championship, it is all hands-on deck to complete the task and build momentum toward the 2024 USF Pro 2000 season.”
TJ Speed drivers will hit the track on Friday for a pair of test sessions while Saturday will feature qualifying and race one. Race two of the weekend will roll off the grid Sunday morning. You can view live timing and stream qualifying and both races at Circuit of the Americas LIVE online here. Stay tuned to the TJ Speed social media pages for all the news, photos, and results from the event weekend.
Circuit of the Americas Weekend Schedule: (CDT)
Friday, August 25th
10:25am – 10:55am – Test Session 1
3:05pm – 3:35pm – Test Session 2
Saturday, August 26th
9:25am – 9:55am – Practice
1:50pm – 2:15pm – Qualifying
5:20pm – 6:00pm – Race 1
Sunday, August 27th
8:00am – 8:40am – Race 2
Photo Credit: RTD Media