Brooks earns fourth place, top ten for Browne, experience gained for St-Jean
Toronto, Ontario (July 18, 2023) – Michael d’Orlando continued his victory streak in the USF Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, taking his third win in three straight weekends in Race 1 on the streets of Toronto. The 21-year-old, who is half Canadian, qualified on the front row for the first of two races after a shortened qualifying session due to prolonged red flags. In the race, d’Orlando pushed hard to snag the top spot away from Myles Rowe for over half of the 25-lap event before a red flag came out for rainy weather with less than 10 laps to go.
Once the race resumed under wet conditions, d’Orlando continued to push for the lead until a mistake made by Rowe allowed him to slide his #1 USF Pro Championships/Priority Payments Systems car into first position and claim the win.
After starting third for Race 2, d’Orlando didn’t take long to move up into the second position where he ran for the majority of the race, pressuring leader Myles Rowe for the lead with every lap; unfortunately, bad luck reared its head once again for the New York native as a fuel pump failure caused his car to lose power, taking away a sure podium finish and resulting in P14.
Despite the setback in Race 2, d’Orlando still earned enough points this weekend to improve to fourth in the championship standings, a mere 12 points off of second place.
#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
“I’m really proud of the pace that Turn 3 Motorsport and I showed this weekend,” said d’Orlando. “Race 1 was an incredible result for me. Winning in front of my family in Toronto was a feeling like no other. I’m ecstatic to have my first win in Toronto. Although Race 2 didn’t come our way with a mechanical issue, we had the opportunity to win. I’m just glad to show that we were the driver to beat this weekend; whether or not things fell our way is a different story. I can’t wait to head out to COTA for our next event.”
Jonathan Browne qualified tenth for the first of two races after very limited time on track in both practice and qualifying thanks to multiple red flags stopping the sessions early. In Race 1, Browne had a strong run coming up from tenth, particularly coming alive once rainy conditions set in over the Canadian street course. The Irishman was pushing for seventh before finding the tire barrier at Turn 8 with only a couple laps to go, ending up P15.
In Race 2, Browne got caught behind an opening lap incident which dropped him to the back of the field; however, he was able to continue on the lead lap and fight his #2 JB Racing car back up to a P10 finish to round out the weekend.
#2 Jonathan Browne // USF Pro 2000
JB Racing / Motorsport Ireland / CRPS Awareness
“Another difficult weekend was had in Toronto,” said Browne. “Many red flags in practice and qualifying made it difficult from the start. I found some pace in Race 1 when it started raining, but unfortunately while battling for seventh, I broke fractionally too late, and it sent me into the wall. In Race 2, I had nowhere to go at Turn 1 and had to stop and reverse out of the situation. This put me to the back, but we fought our way back into the top 10. It was not the best weekend for us, but I’m looking forward to going back and resetting for the last two rounds in a month’s time.”
Rookie Louka St-Jean faced an uphill battle from the start of the weekend in his home country; the 17-year-old French Canadian didn’t get much track time on the previously unexplored circuit before going into his first qualifying session where he ended up P18 after tagging the wall and coming in for repairs. In Race 1, St-Jean battled hard to gain positions and was up to P14 before getting into the tire barrier midway through the race.
Race 2 didn’t produce much more good fortune for St-Jean as he suffered front wing damage to his #3 Planiform / Proservin Construction car on the opening lap after unavoidably plowing into a pileup in his path, knocking him out of the race and scoring him P18.
#3 Louka St-Jean // USF Pro 2000
Planiform / Proservin Construction / Cosme Inc. / Acier Marquis / JIT Laser / Alliance Contrôle / TLA Architectes
“Well, it was a horrible end to the weekend for me unfortunately,” said St-Jean. “I had a lot of bad luck in both of the races and wasn’t able to get the results I was hoping for after a strong run at the last two rounds. Even though I didn’t have the results, I gained more experience in the USF Pro 2000 car, and I know we will be better at the next round in Texas.”
Christian Brooks, who rejoined the team in Toronto after being out of a race car since the season opener in March, had a slower start to the weekend as he had limited time to find his rhythm and pace on his first ever visit to the 1.786-mile, 11-turn street circuit. Starting P13 for Race 1, Brooks was eager to prove his capabilities and raced his way up to a well-earned eighth place finish, earning the Tilton Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions on track.
Qualifying for Race 2 went substantially better than the first session for Brooks with the 22-year-old American clocking in the fifth fastest lap time in his #44 car for Sunday’s race. On Lap 1, Brooks had already moved up to fourth and then third position where he remained for more than half the race. After some hard fought battles in the remaining laps, Brooks ended up just outside the podium in fourth for his return to the USF Pro 2000 series.
#44 Christian Brooks // USF Pro 2000
“What an experience the Toronto Grand Prix has been,” said Brooks. “I think we’ve made a statement again contending for the podium in my first race back since St. Petersburg in March. Turn 3 Motorsport did a fantastic job as always, and I’m hoping to be back racing with them again soon!”
After an overall positive weekend, the team came away maintaining second in the Team Championship with 244 points.
Team Owner Peter Dempsey
“Once again we proved how competitive our team is by taking a win and a fourth in the two races in Toronto,” said Team Owner Peter Dempsey. “I’m extremely disappointed to have had the mechanical issue on Michael’s car in Race 2 though. We’ve had excellent reliability all year, so to not have Michael get the weekend he should have had with his performance is frustrating. It was an absolute pleasure to have Christian back in our program this weekend. Once again, he showed his class and maturity. Toronto is the most difficult track we race on, and to be challenging for a podium in Race 2 with it being his first time there was a great success. Hopefully he can be back with us again in the near future.”
“Jonathan and Louka didn’t have the best weekend on the performance side,” continued Dempsey. “The best thing for them both to do is to focus forward and come back stronger for COTA and Portland. A huge thanks to all our crew as always; their hard work and dedication never goes unnoticed.”
Rounds 14/15 of the USF Pro Championships will take place in Austin, Texas at the Circuit of the Americas road course from August 24-27.
To stay up to date on Turn 3 Motorsport, follow the team on social media using the handle @turn3motorsport.