Spike Kohlbecker set for US F4 debut

| Photographer Credit: Terry Marshall/Euan Cameron Photography

US driver and Castrol Toyota Racing Series graduate Spike Kohlbecker will resume his 2020 racing campaign this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.  Both Kohlbecker and Kiwi NZ Formula Ford driver Ronan Murphy will take to the grid of the Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda opening round.

Kohlbecker first made the trip down under 18 months ago and competed in the 2018/19 New Zealand Formula Ford Championship before returning 12months later to race in the 2020 Toyota Racing Series. That was a steep learning curve seeing him move from the rear of the field in the opening rounds to finishing in the top ten in all three races at the NZ Grand Prix finale weekend.

“I’d say I’m very happy to be getting back into the car this weekend,” commented Kohlbecker to Talkmotorsport. “It’s been a huge break since the last championship race I’ve been in. It wasn’t a time to slack though, as I’ve been working hard getting into peak condition to be racing this weekend.

“Not only have I been working physically but also mentally.

“We’ve been doing tests here and there getting great experience in the new car. I feel as we are one of the more qualified drivers in the field for this season due to the experience I have obtained over the past few years racing in Canada, NZ (NZ OFrmula Ford), UK and then NZ in TRS.

“That said, the transition between the FT60 TRS car and the F4 car is quite large. I’ve found you have to really hustle this car around kinda like a 1600 car to be really quick in it.

“I like the car a lot and you can really feel the difference it makes when you make changes to it.

Spike Kohlbecker talking with TRS engineer Tim Neff, Photo Bruce Jenkins

“I also feel my partnership with my engineer and Kiwi Motorsport has grown a lot due to spending tons of time with them here in the US and during the TRS series.

“I feel the competition will be stiff due to the size of the field but I’m ready for the challenge. A few weeks ago Mid Ohio opened up for some testing. As expected we put down some really good lap times in the last session and definitely ended on a good note.

“I like the circuit a lot but it’s very challenging due to crazy variations of grip through the track. I expect to be up-front – that’s the goal; to be upfront challenging for wins.

“And if it rains as it is expecting to do? – so be it, I love to race in the rain. I’ve had a lot of great experiences over the last 3 years preparing to race in the US – now that time has come.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this week announced that it will open its gates to spectators on a limited basis for the Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.

Qualifying takes place on Friday at 2:20 CDT with a 30 minute race on Saturday (1:40CDT) and a second 25 minute race on Sunday 2:00 CDT.

Benjamin Carrell

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits talkmotorsport.co.nz. He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!


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