Formula 1 Racing is a huge all over the world, but not necessarily in the United States.
So, as the sport continues to expand its reach across the globe, North America wasn't left out of the equation, with two new venues hosting races, Austin, TX and New Jersey.
In addition, another new series has been set up, this one geared to teenagers and up-and-coming drivers—the Panam GP Series—which has its first event this weekend in Mexico City and incorporates many similar elements of the prestigious senior category.
The races will eventually include 24 cars and drivers from various teams in North and South America. The series kicks off this Saturday, and the North American portion, which includes teams for Canada and the United States, will start in spring 2013.
"We're very excited, because it's a very novel and unique program," says Alec Donachy, public relations representative for the series. "And the Ferrari Formula 1 team is supporting the effort to recruit for the series at the grassroots level, so they are now seriously interested in finding teenagers and pre-teens for a driver development program."
The program will help kids transition from go-karts to racecars, and it's setting up shop in Utah for young drivers from all over the country to come and develop their racing skills.
The Series provided a press meet and greet with two of the development program's 10-year-old drivers at the Newpark Hotel in Park City on Tuesday night.
Alec Donachy tells press about Utah's new program for young racers.
Sophie Mae Price
Price, who resides in Heber, has been racing competitively since she was four, but started driving motorized vehicles at 2 1/2. She can often be found practicing and competing at Miller Motorsports Park, with her family looking on. Her father was a racecar driver, and now her younger sister is also getting into racing.
"I'm just a normal girl, going to school every day, but every Friday, I check out and go to the race track and practice until 9:30, and then I race the next day from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.," she says. "It can be stressful some days, but mainly I just love being with my family and when everyone comes out to watch it."
Recently, she finished in second place at the 2012 Gatorz Challenge of the Americas MicroMax.
At the press event, Fine spent some time explaining all the components of one of the MicroMax cars on display. "She goes around 60 miles per hour," he said. "And it's a rotax engine." He competes in one just like it at Miller Motorsports Park. He started racing when he was five years old, and his dad serves as his tuner.
"I love how competitive it is," he says. "And I like just checking out cars and how they handle and seeing what kind of set up they have." He lives in Park City, and when he's not driving, he enjoys skiing, soccer, biking, hiking and math.
He entered Junior 1, a four stroke 200cc Honda class, last year and had a stellar rookie season. This year, he's looking to win the Junior 1 championship.
For more information about the Panam GP Series, visit www.panam-series.us, which will launch in June.