St-Jean makes strong debut in series while Lee shows progressive pace
Elkhart Lake, Wis. (June 20, 2023) – After a rollercoaster first half of the season, Michael d’Orlando finally won his first USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires race at this weekend’s L&W Supply Grand Prix of Road America. The USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires Champion immediately showed speed on the 4.014-mile, 14-turn road course by topping both pre-event test sessions and claiming the Cooper Tires Pole Award for Race 1, becoming the first driver to duplicate a pole win this season.
d'Orlando’s victory in Race 1 was well-earned as the 21-year-old from Hartsdale, N.Y. lost the lead to championship points leader Myles Rowe temporarily and dropped back to fourth; but d’Orlando’s determination was unwavered, and he was able to regain the lead with just four laps to go, taking his maiden win in the series and earning the second win of the season for Turn 3 Motorsport.
d’Orlando qualified P2 for Race 2 and was set to go for a back to back victory; however, misfortune reared its head once again as d’Orlando made contact with polesitter Christian Weir on the warmup lap, damaging his brake line and ending the second race of the weekend before it even began. Still, the driver of the #1 USF Pro Championships/Priority Payments Systems car finished first or second in the other six on track sessions, making Rounds 8/9 his strongest so far.
#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
“Finally!” said d’Orlando. “I’m so proud to have acquired my first win with Turn 3 Motorsport. That #1 USF Pro Championships/Priority Payments Systems car was fast the entire weekend, and the guys have put so much effort in for it to pay off. Race 2 isn’t much to talk about, but some contact ended my race early. Either way, this weekend was phenomenal for me. I love Road America, and I’m glad to have my maiden USF Pro 2000 win here. Let’s go get ‘em at Mid-Ohio!”
Jonathan Browne earned his long-awaited first career podium in USF Pro 2000 in Sunday’s Race 2 at Road America, taking third place in the 15-lap competition. Qualifying for Race 2 was continuously shifting for the Irishman as he struggled with a minor gearbox issue which at one point caused him to briefly pull off track before quickly restarting; unfortunately, this resulted in a red flag being thrown for the driver of the #2 car, meaning he lost the ability to keep his fastest lap time, although his second best lap time was good enough for a P5 starting position.
After front row starters d’Orlando and Weir made contact on the parade lap of Race 2, Browne moved up to third for the start and immediately began challenging to improve his position. Following some chaotic and strong racing, the 22-year-old crossed the finish line third, locking in a podium finish for himself and Turn 3 Motorsport as well as a fourth place finish in Race 1 the previous day. Keeping consistent throughout the first half of the season has paid off for Browne as he now sits tied for fifth in the championship standings coming out of Rounds 8/9.
#2 Jonathan Browne // USF Pro 2000
JB Racing / Motorsport Ireland / CRPS Awareness
“We finally got there!” said Browne. “We had a really good weekend at Road America. Right from the first lap, we showed great pace, and I felt great there. The races were chaotic, and I was able to use that to my advantage. Unfortunately, a small gear issue hampered us in both races from getting even better results, but the team did absolutely everything they could to get it fixed, and I can’t thank them enough for everything. It felt great to finally be back on the podium and to have my first one in the Turn 3 Motorsport colors. We keep moving forward now, and hopefully this is the first of many more podiums!”
Louka St-Jean had an excellent debut in the USF Pro 2000 series, showing natural ability and speed throughout the entire weekend. The 17-year-old rookie appeared in the top five spots in every practice and qualifying session leading up to the pair of races, qualifying P5 for Race 1 and P4 for Race 2.
After a great start in Race 1, St-Jean was run off the track and dropped to P13; but the young Canadian did not give up and raced his way back up to sixth before dropping back once again, ultimately finishing his debut race in a solid eighth position.
Following a warmup lap incident between the front row cars, St-Jean found himself starting second for Race 2. Unfortunately, halfway through the 15-lap race, St-Jean was involved in a multi-car pileup at Turn 5 which forced him to bring the #3 Planiform / Proservin Construction car into the pits for repairs. Despite the setback, he was able to continue the race two laps down, ending up with a P17 result.
#3 Louka St-Jean // USF Pro 2000
Planiform / Proservin Construction / Cosme Inc. / Acier Marquis / JIT Laser / Alliance Contrôle / TLA Architectes
“I had a very good start to the weekend ending up in the top 5 throughout practice and qualifying,” said St-Jean. “Unfortunately, I had a bit of bad luck that made me lose positions during the two races. The first race, I managed to recover an eight place finish after several accidents. For the second race, I was involved in a crash which caused damage to my car, forcing me to go to the pits. I returned to the track to continue the race, but I was two laps behind. We had the pace all weekend, and I have no doubt I will recover and have a good weekend in Mid-Ohio.”
Jackson Lee came into the weekend with confidence and high expectations, but a string of adversity hindered him from getting the results he was striving for. A tough qualifying session saw the Indiana native starting P14 for Race 1, and disappointingly, Lee didn’t even get one lap in before getting beached at Turn 3, ending his race early.
Race 2 started off a lot more promising for Lee; after qualifying P10, the 20-year-old gained two positions before the race even started after the leaders pulled off for damage then battled his way forward into P6 by Lap 3. Sadly, disaster struck once again for Lee as he was collected in the same multi-car incident as teammate Louka St-Jean at Turn 5 and unable to finish the race, resulting in a P17 scoring and a difficult overall weekend for the driver of the #47 IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center/Browning Chapman/Prime 47 car.
#47 Jackson Lee // USF Pro 2000
IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center/Race for RP/Prime 47/Browning Chapman
“While it was a very frustrating weekend, there are positives we can take away,” said Lee. “I continue to see development in pace and understanding of the car. I just need to find more consistency and qualify a little better to keep myself away from the half of the field where mistakes are more likely made. We will be working hard over the next couple weeks to find budget and make sure we are fully prepared for Mid-Ohio. Thanks to Turn 3 Motorsport for all of their hard work over the weekend and helping me learn and get stronger as a driver.”
Team Owner Peter Dempsey
"I’m extremely proud of our effort as a team this weekend at Road America,” said Team Owner Peter Dempsey. “We showed that our team had great speed from the first session out. A fantastic job by Michael (d’Orlando) on his first win in the series and by Jonathan (Browne) on his first USF Pro 2000 podium. Louka (St-Jean) did a really solid job on his debut weekend and exceeded our expectations. He has huge talent for someone so young, and I’m looking forward to building our relationship. Jackson had a tough weekend after going in so confident, but hopefully we can bounce back at Mid-Ohio and get some strong results. A huge thank you to all our crew members for their hard work and dedication to the team. On to Mid-Ohio next weekend!”
Rounds 10/11 of the USF Pro Championships takes place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course from June 29-July 2.
To stay up to date on Turn 3 Motorsport, follow the team on social media using the handle @turn3motorsport.