St-Jean earns best finishes, Lee unlucky in both races, Browne struggles for results
Lexington, Ohio (July 3, 2023) – Michael d’Orlando claimed his second win of the season in the USF Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. The USF2000 Champion also earned his third pole position – remaining the only driver to win multiple Cooper Tires Pole Awards – and started Race 1 from the front, leading every lap from green to checkers and crossing the finish line 1.5-seconds ahead of second place.
The driver from Hartsdale, N.Y. started P2 for Race 2 following a qualifying session that split the top seven qualifiers by less than .1 seconds, demonstrating just how competitive the USF Pro 2000 field is. Following an opening lap caution, d’Orlando dropped to P3 on the restart and quickly went to work trying to regain the position. The 21-year-old fought incredibly hard throughout the 30-lap event to put the #1 USF Pro Championships/Priority Payments Systems car back on the top step of the podium, attempting multiple passes on the #12 car of Kiko Porto and putting on a spectacular show all the way until the last lap, ultimately bringing the car home P3 and earning another podium finish for the team.
d'Orlando’s strong performance at Mid-Ohio rewarded him with a slew of much needed championship points, boosting him up to sixth in the standings and only 18 points off of second.
#1 Michael d'Orlando // USF Pro 2000
USF Pro Championships/Priority Payments Systems/Focused Project Management/Rising Star Racing/UFC Gym Mamaroneck/Turn 3 Motorsport Tatuus IP-22
“What an amazing weekend at Mid-Ohio,” said d’Orlando. “Turn 3 Motorsport did a fantastic job making that #1 USF Pro Championships/Priority Payments Systems car the fastest on track. A win and a third is exactly what we needed in the championship, and I’m super proud to have had a drama-free weekend. Let’s go get ‘em at Toronto!”
Teammate Jonathan Browne found Mid-Ohio to be his most challenging event of the season so far, struggling to find his rhythm on the 2.258-mile road course and qualifying in the back half of the field for both races. Despite a rough start to the weekend, the 22-year-old was determined to rebound and garner a better result in the races. In the opening few corners of Race 1, Browne had moved up from P14 to P8 amongst chaos ahead of him, but the gained positions were quickly taken back as a car came back on track in front of the Irishman while other cars passed on either side, locking him in and dropping him to the back of the field.
Browne then suffered damage to his front wing while working to pass the #81 car of Nicholas Monteiro, bringing him into the pits for repairs and dropping him a lap down. At the halfway point, rain started to fall on the Ohio circuit, bringing out a red flag and calling all cars into the pits to change to rain tires. Unfortunately, Browne was not able to recover any further positions upon the race restart, scoring the #2 JB Racing car P17 in Race 1.
Race 2 did not yield much better results for the Irishman as he once again started toward the back of the field, making it extremely challenging to move forward despite his efforts. Browne finished Race 2 in P15 but still came out of the weekend holding onto eighth in the championship standings and very much still in the fight.
#2 Jonathan Browne // USF Pro 2000
JB Racing / Motorsport Ireland / CRPS Awareness
“It was a really tough weekend at Mid-Ohio for me,” said Browne. “One of the toughest ever. I struggled to get the groove and pace around there all weekend. I got unlucky in Race 1 – after making a great start, I got caught up in an unavoidable incident which put me to the rear of the field with damage. Then I just struggled to make any progress in Race 2. The team and I deserve a lot more than what we got this weekend. Onto the next round in Toronto!”
Louka St-Jean had an overall successful weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in only his second ever event in the USF Pro 2000 series. The 17-year-old French Canadian qualified 11th for Race 1 after getting caught in a bit of traffic during the session, but knowing he had a quick car, St-Jean set his focus on moving forward throughout the 30-lap race. St-Jean was able to avoid the opening lap chaos that caught out teammate Jonathan Browne and moved himself up to ninth early on in the race. The rookie continued to battle for position for the remaining laps and worked his way up to a seventh place finish, his best result so far.
St-Jean started P8 for Race 2 after a better qualifying effort in the second session. He had an excellent start as well, making aggressive moves and working his way up to fifth in the first few corners. At the end of the 30-lap contest, St-Jean came away with another seventh place finish for the #3 Planiform / Proservin Construction car, matching his best race result from earlier that day, finishing every lap of both races, and proving he is a strong competitor in the USF Pro 2000 series.
#3 Louka St-Jean // USF Pro 2000
Planiform / Proservin Construction / Cosme Inc. / Acier Marquis / JIT Laser / Alliance Contrôle / TLA Architectes
“Overall, it was a very positive weekend for us,” said St-Jean. “After a good day of testing, I got caught in a bit of a traffic in the first qualifying session and didn’t get the result I wanted, but I managed to break into the top ten in the second session. I was very happy to get two seventh place finishes in the races, my best results yet! Thanks to the team for a good weekend in Mid-Ohio. Now I am looking forward to getting back onto Canadian soil on the streets of Toronto in just a couple of weeks!”
After working hard to pull together the budget, Jackson Lee was eager to go racing at Mid-Ohio and compete for a couple of strong and well-deserved race results. Lee started P16 for Race 1, and when an incident unfolded him front of him in the opening turns, the Indiana native was able to avoid the mess and push forward to P12. Halfway through the race, rainfall meant the field would be required to stop racing and come into the pits to change their cars to rain tires for the remaining laps. Once the race got started again, Lee raced his way up to P9 in an exciting effort, but just before the final corners, the #47 IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center/Browning Chapman/Prime 47 car was hit from behind and spun around, not only damaging his race but his wrist as well.
Determined to bounce back from misfortune, Lee went into Race 2 with a severely sprained wrist but focused mindset. However, his luck ran out once again as he dropped a wheel going into Turn 4 and lost control of the car on the opening lap. Unable to get the car started up again before the rest of the field came back around, the 20-year-old went a lap down before rejoining the race. More motivated than ever, Lee continued to fight hard for the remaining laps and began putting out lap times as fast as – and sometimes faster than – the leader. Unfortunately, Lee was unable to improve any more positions after losing a lap at the start and was scored in P20 following a valiant effort.
#47 Jackson Lee // USF Pro 2000
IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center/Race for RP/Prime 47/Browning Chapman
“This weekend was tough,” said Lee. “Turn 3 Motorsport gave me a fast car. I was moving forward in Race 1 and ran times as fast as the leader in Race 2, but the results we have been looking for are still out there. Unfortunately, I suffered a wrist injury in Race 1 and won’t be able to compete at Toronto, but we hope to be back pushing for a great result at COTA next month!”
With a mix of consistency and strong results from the Turn 3 Motorsport drivers, the team is now lying second in the Team Championship after Rounds 10/11 with 202 points.
Team Owner Peter Dempsey
"It was a very successful weekend for us as a team at Mid-Ohio,” said Team Owner Peter Dempsey. “I am really proud of the effort our team has put in over last few weeks. Michael (d’Orlando) did an absolutely awesome job bouncing back from disappointment in Race 2 at Road America to come back and have such a strong and consistent weekend at Mid-Ohio. I am also super proud of Louka (St-Jean’s) progression from Road America to Mid-Ohio. Jonathan (Browne) had a difficult weekend, but hopefully he can bounce back and get back in the fight in Toronto. It was also great to have Jackson (Lee) back with us this weekend. He’s progressed very well, and hopefully he can come back and finish the season with us. I’m really looking forward to Toronto in a couple of weeks. We were strong there last year, so I’m hoping we can get some solid results this year, too. A huge thanks to everyone in our program for their continued effort. Let’s stay focused and keep pushing!”
Rounds 12/13 of the USF Pro Championships takes place on the Streets of Toronto from July 14-16.
To stay up to date on Turn 3 Motorsport, follow the team on social media using the handle @turn3motorsport.