Mazda Road to Indy team announces first driver for 2018 campaign
CHICAGO, IL (October 31, 2017) – Newman Wachs Racing is pleased to announce its first driver for the 2018 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, confirming the return of talented driver Darren Keane. The 18-year-old from Boca Raton, Florida had a strong rookie season in USF2000, joining Newman Wachs Racing at Road America in June. Keane raced in six of the eight weekends last year and posted five top-10 finishes with a best result of fourth in Toronto. He finished the year 11th in the overall championship standings.
“We had the pleasure of running Darren last year in his rookie season and we’re thrilled to have him back with us for 2018,” offered Brian Halahan, NWR Team Manager. “I’m stoked with the speed he showed at the Chris Griffis test at Indianapolis and I’m extremely impressive with his development. He’s matured so much over the last few months and I’m pleased that we’ll be able to continue on the path that we started on last year. I’m very exciting for next season.”
A highly-acclaimed karting graduate, Keane took all he learned from the season and applied the training behind the wheel when he returned to the track with NWR at the official Chris Griffis Memorial Test on October 21-22 at Indianapolis. Keane was in the top-four of all eight sessions over the weekend, topping two sessions while posting the fastest outright USF2000 lap of the test. Keane is being coached by veteran driver Oswaldo Negri.
“I’m really happy to be signing with NWR,” Keane enthused. “They’re a great group of guys and we have improved so much as a team over the last season. I’m really pleased to have a plan put together this early, because it gives us all the time we need to prepare for a championship next season. I think we’re going to have a great year and I’m looking forward to coming back to USF2000. Last year’s purpose was to learn as much as I could, and now I’m ready to use that knowledge to get results this season.”
The team will continue its testing program in November ahead in preparations for the 2018 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. With Keane signed to drive the team’s #36 entry, three race seats are available for next year. Drivers interested in testing with the team should contact Brian Halahan at 727-692-6052.
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About Newman Wachs Racing:
Newman Wachs Racing was formed in 2005 by late actor and IndyCar team owner Paul Newman and long-time racing friend Eddie Wachs to aid the development of young drivers in Champ Car’s Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. Among the drivers to go through the NWR program were JR Hildebrand, John Edwards and Simona de Silvestro. After a seven-year hiatus, Newman Wachs Racing has returned to racing, competing in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires.