Next Level Motorsports has outlined its plans for the 2017 racing season, as 2009 Verizon IndyCar Rookie of the Year Rafa Matos established a multi-discipline program which will include the Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda. The Orlando-based group will team with Cape Motorsports for its F4 U.S. program as the initiative leverages partnerships to facilitate growth.
The team signed promising karter Jett Noland of Groveland, Florida, for the 2017 season. Over the course of the year, the young pilot will be featured in outings in karts, F4 U.S cars and Legends machines. The karting program, which utilizes a partnership with Karting Worldwide, will include efforts in the F-Series, a midwest karting championship, as well as the ROK Cup USA championship.
“I am very excited to be starting this program, because I want to establish a program in the sport and build a team,” said the Star Mazda, Formula Atlantic and Indy Lights Championships winner Matos. “I’ve been working with Jett for some time, and he is a perfect fit for these plans. He is a talented driver who wants to learn as much as he can and we will work to create as many opportunities for him to do that as we can. We will manage the karting program from our base in Orlando, and are fortunate to be also working with Cape to support the F4 program. We want to learn, grow and build for the future.”
In 2016, Matos served as the driving coach for F4 U.S. Championship pilot Cameron Das. Das went on to win the inaugural championship with 14 fast times, 11 Poles and nine wins.
Key partnerships are providing the foundation for Next Level Motorsports, with Greg and Lori Noland teaming with Matos to build the program from the start.
“We have known Rafa for quite some time as he’s worked with Jett as his coach, and we shared his dream to build a team so we are very excited to be making this step,” said Greg Noland. “Rafa brings a lot of experience from his years in the sport and can really be a mentor for Jett so he is ideal for this role. We want to keep our focus on our program for Jett this year, and grow Next Level Motorsports to be able to work with more drivers in the future.”
Matos, who went from karts to IndyCars and also earned success in sports cars with his Rolex 24 At Daytona victory, is also developing plans to grow into sports car racing in the future. In the meantime, beyond developing coaching structure and logistical support, Matos is likely to also get back into the fight with some time behind the wheel as well.
“One of my goals when I decided to form this team with Greg (Noland) is that one day under the right circumstances I would like to defend the colors of my own team,” said Matos. “Right know there's a great chance I will defend our colors in go karts and Legends as well.”