In our 1000th issue (December 2008) I lamented the disappearance of US drivers and teams from Europe and international racing in general. But even as that issue of Motor Sport rolled off the press a pair of teenagers showed that the drive to compete at the highest level of the sport still burns in the hearts of some American kids. Josef Newgarden, 17, and Conor Daly, 16, demonstrated their ability with a couple of impressive wins last autumn in Britain. Newgarden won the Kent engine division of the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and Daly took the Walter Hayes Memorial Trophy race at Silverstone two weeks later.
Newgarden and Daly competed in the pair of FFord races as winners of journalist Jeremy Shaw’s Team USA selection. This initiative has been operating for 18 years, and Newgarden and Daly are the most successful candidates we’ve seen yet. Newgarden plans to race in Britain’s Duratech Formula Ford series in 2009 while Daly, the son of Irish F1 and Indycar driver Derek, will race in the Star Mazda series in the USA courtesy of a $350,000 prize he earned for winning last year’s Skip Barber series. Both young drivers have declared that they want to develop their careers in Europe with F1 as their ultimate goal, and I wish them the best of luck in their quest.