Challenging weekend in Austin yields decent results for team
Austin, Texas (August 29, 2023) – It was a challenging weekend in Austin for Turn 3 Motorsport who faced a fair amount of setbacks at the Discount Tire Circuit of the Americas Grand Prix. In addition to surviving the blistering heat, the team struggled to find the lead pace before going into Saturday’s qualifying session, putting them at a disadvantage for the start of both USF Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires races.
Michael d’Orlando qualified his #1 USF Pro Championships/Priority Payments Systems car eighth for Race 1, putting him in a decent starting position to challenge for a podium finish during the 15-lap event. Unfortunately, that goal came to an abrupt ending as the 2022 USF2000 Champion’s engine blew up just over halfway through the race, forcing him to retire early and finish P17.
The team spent the night replacing the engine with a brand new unit for d’Orlando who started Sunday’s Race 2 in seventh position. After giving it everything he had on the 3.41-mile, 20-turn road course, the 21-year-old ultimately crossed the finish line in P7 to finish the weekend.
#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
“It was not the weekend I was looking for, and I think the team can agree,” said d’Orlando. “We struggled to find the pace and the results we were looking for, but we pushed through it. There’s always going to be tough weekends, we just need to learn from those weekends and focus forward. The finale in Portland is coming quickly, and I’m excited to see what the Turn 3 Motorsport team and I can do on our final weekend together. Let’s end on a high!”
Jonathan Browne had a tough start to the day on Saturday, missing part of the official practice session when a wheel came loose as he was turning laps. Thankfully, the 23-year-old suffered no damage to his #2 JB Racing car and was set to qualify shortly after. The Irishman started Race 1 in a less than favorable P16, but fought to move forward six positions during the race, earning hard charger honors and finishing tenth.
Sunday’s Race 2 saw Browne starting P15, and after a lot of movement both forward and backward throughout the 15 laps, he was eventually able to claim a P13 finish in the final event.
#2 Jonathan Browne // USF Pro 2000
JB Racing / Motorsport Ireland / CRPS Awareness
“Unfortunately, it was another weekend to forget for me,” said Browne. “We struggled with pace throughout the weekend no matter what we tried. Everyone at Turn 3 worked really hard in the extreme heat all weekend to try to turn it around, but it wasn’t meant to be. The second half of the season has been really challenging for me unfortunately, but we have one more weekend to end on a high note!”
Louka St-Jean qualified P13 for Race 1 and was determined to make up positions and break into the top ten from the get-go. However, slight contact while battling for position called the young Canadian into the pits for a quick repair during a yellow flag, and he was able to rejoin the field on the lead lap. The 17-year-old pushed hard to make up the lost positions and finished the race in P13.
Race 2 didn’t bring much more luck to St-Jean who started P14 and traded track positions with competitors for all 15 laps, conclusively earning a P15 result in the #3 Planiform / Proservin Construction car.
#3 Louka St-Jean // USF Pro 2000
Planiform / Proservin Construction / Cosme Inc. / Acier Marquis / JIT Laser / Alliance Contrôle / TLA Architectes
“It was a tough weekend for me,” said St-Jean. “I got unlucky at the beginning of Race 1 and got caught up in some contact but was still able to soldier back to P13 by the end. Race 2 was another tough race for me, but we will come back harder and stronger in Portland this weekend for the season finale!”
At the end of the weekend, the team still managed to come away with some decent points, allowing them to maintain second in the Team Championship with 253 points.
Team Owner Peter Dempsey
“It was certainly the most difficult weekend we have had all year,” said Team Owner Peter Dempsey. “We struggled to have pace as a team at COTA. We had no pre-season testing here, so it was our first time at the track and unfortunately the heat caught us out to find the right balance for our drivers. Michael was very unfortunate to have an engine issue in Race 1. A huge appreciation goes out to our crew for working long hours on Saturday night to get his car ready for the race on Sunday.”
“It was Jonathan’s first ever time at COTA, and we struggled to find any momentum for the weekend for both him and Louka,” continued Dempsey. “We will now turn our focus to Portland this weekend. Hopefully our drivers can rebound from COTA and have a great season finale.”
The final three rounds of the USF Pro 2000 Championship will take place this weekend, August 31-September 3, at Portland International Raceway where the 2023 Champion will be decided.
To stay up to date on Turn 3 Motorsport, follow the team on social media using the handle @turn3motorsport.