Northern Ireland’s Wayne Boyd, who was a racewinner in 2009’s British F3 series before struggling to finance a drive last year, has crossed the Atlantic to compete in the USF2000 Series.
In a blast from the past, he will retain the race number and sponsor that carried him through his Formula Three campaign when he makes his debut this weekend at Sebring International Raceway in the #4 DHL car.
Boyd will compete for Belardi Auto Racing alongside National Guard infantryman and former USF2000 champion Cole Morgan in a series that forms the lowest rung of the ladder that eventually leads to the Indianapolis 500.
Its champion will earn a drive in the 2012 Star Mazda Series, with possible elevation after that to Indy Lights and the IndyCar Series.
The 20-year-old said: “Even as a boy, it’s always been about the Indy 500. I grew up watching it and to have the opportunity through the Mazda ‘Road to Indy’ ladder system to get there is incredible.
“Not only do they [Belardi] have a lot of IndyCar experience on the team, but it’s clear that they really want results, to really go after a championship.”
Team Owner Brian Belardi said: “We’ve made an investment in people and equipment that is all about winning. Boyd is a driver that will be able to leverage that. While there is always a learning curve with a new car and certainly new tracks, I am confident he will find success this season.”
Boyd has boasted the services of Champ Car and Indy Lights racer ‘Speedy’ Dan Clarke’s manager, the showbiz impresario Chas Cole, and has a racing CV that includes victories in both the 2008 British Formula Ford Championship and Festival. He is also a former BRDC Superstar and McLaren Autosport Young Driver Award nominee.
He performed strongly in his British F3 debut season, 2009, including a victory from 10th on the grid at a rainy Donington Park – but his attempt at that year’s Macau Grand Prix ended prematurely with a spectacular 170mph end-over-end crash in the qualification race.
This year in USF2000 he will run in the #4 DHL-sponsored car, which means he retains both the sponsor and race number familiar from his F3 campaign.
His relationship with the mail company – which will also be sponsoring Ryan Hunter-Reay in the main IndyCar Series – goes back to his early karting days when he first met DHL manager Tim Dubois.
The USF2000 tie-up makes good a promise made by Dubois prior to the 2009 season when he said: “We have been long time supporters of his career, he is a star and we look forward to working alongside him into the future as he climbs the motor sport ladder.”