- 18 October 2012
LOS GATOS, CALIF. (October 18, 2012) – Neil Alberico returned to the cockpit of a FF racer this past weekend (October 13-14), helping Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing capture the F1600 Formula F Championship Series title at Watkins Glen International. The highly-regarded Californian was in fine form as a last minute replacement driver, scoring two third place finishes and setting new series lap record in the season-finale doubleheader.
After completing a successful rookie campaign in another F2000 series with a runner-up finish at VIRginia International Raceway in mid-September, Alberico was poised to put away his racing attire and focus on finding funding and preparing for the 2013 race season. That, however, changed when F1600 Formula F Championship race winner and title contender Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing gave him a call about racing in the season-finale at Watkins Glen in place of Spectrum factory racer Shae Davies, who was unfortunately injured in an Australian Formula Ford Championship race at the famed Bathurst Mount Panorama track just prior to heading stateside for the doubleheader.
Given Alberico had spent the 2011 season racing in the Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain and finished third in the world renowned 40th Formula Ford Festival, he quickly agreed to put back on his racing helmet and join Cape Motorsports in upstate New York for the title deciding Rounds 11 & 12.
While the primary goal for Alberico in his return to FF competition was to assist his new teammate Matias Koykka in capturing the championship crown, he was determined to further showcase his ever-growing talents behind the wheel.
The Bondurant School/RaceLite Protection-backed driver promptly made his presence felt in the tricky Friday practice runs, overcoming rain, hail, and cold temperatures to post the fourth best time in both sessions in an unfamiliar Spectrum 012H chassis.
Alberico continued his run of form one day later, starting things off by turning the fifth best lap in the morning qualifying session, securing a row three starting position for race one of the doubleheader. Come race time in the late afternoon, the former Bondurant Championship Race Series champion further upped his performance engaging in a spirited dice for a place on the podium, that eventually resulted in both a third place result and a new series lap record (1:57.693) around the fast 3.4-mile road course.
Returning to the cockpit of his No. 9 racing steed on Sunday, Alberico was keen to once again lead Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor back on to the post-race podium. The 20 year-old Californian got the ball rolling in the final qualifying session of the year, posting the third best time. While the subsequent 10-lap finale, which featured an early race caution period for a multi-car accident, featured some very entertaining dicing among the lead pack that included Alberico and both title combatants, Alberico ultimately took the checkered flag in the same position he started, giving the up-and-comer a pair of top-three's in his series debut. More importantly, Koykka's fourth place finish right behind Alberico was enough to give the Finnish racer the championship title for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
"I think it is safe to say the team worked very well together as a whole to solidify the championship," stated Alberico. "It took a team effort to win. We set goals for ourselves, and accomplished them session by session. A huge congratulations to Matias Koykka and all the guys at Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing for working hard all season long to earn their championship! It was a pleasure for me to be a part of it all."
Alberico will now return to preparations for the 2013 race season, with an emphasis on searching for funding to keep his talented motorsports career going forward.