Celebrating his 19th birthday, Benjamin Pedersen of Copenhagen, Denmark, placed himself back on the top step of the podium following a hard-fought first round of the Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda event at Road Atlanta May 10-12. The F4 U.S. veteran driver went on to score points in Race 2 and snagged another podium in the final race of the weekend, jolting Pedersen into first place in the championship run.
“It’s a great feeling to be first in points” said Pedersen. “Now we have to work even harder to stay there.”
After missing pole position by only .025 of a second, Pedersen still started Race 1 on the front row in second. An incorrect stage in the back of the grid aborted the traditional Formula 1-style standing start, forcing Race 1 into a rolling start. Pedersen immediately passed the pole-position driver as the green flag dropped and the Global Racing Group pilot began building a gap away from the rest of the field. The calculated move allowed Pedersen to maintain the lead for the entire race.
“Building a gap early at Road Atlanta is important because drafting plays a huge role here,” explained Pedersen. “The drivers behind me are extremely talented and I knew if I didn’t increase my gap, then they would utilize the draft against me. Global Racing Group put a fast car under me, so I knew that it could be accomplished. The result obviously couldn’t be much better regarding championship points, so we were very happy with the race. The win was also a nice birthday present.”
In Race 2, Pedersen was awarded pole-position after laying down the fastest lap time in Race 1. The grids for subsequent rounds in F4 U.S. are based off drivers’ best lap times from the previous round. Despite being on the dirty side of the track, Pedersen maintained the lead through the opening lap. At the half-way-point, the trailing drivers utilized the draft made by Pedersen’s orange No. 24 DirtFish Racing car on the back straight. In a two-car overtake, Pedersen lost the lead, falling back to third. A full course yellow emerged, and an extensive oil-spill cleanup caused the race to end under yellow conditions. Pedersen crossed the stripe in P4.
“Tire strategy wise, this race is always the most challenging for us as we are on used tires while the others are predominantly on new tires, but despite this and the extended yellow, we still managed a P4 finish, which at the end of the day is still a great amount of championship points,” Pedersen said.
Pedersen experienced his best battles in the final round at Road Atlanta. Staring in fifth, Pedersen got another great start off the line. In just a lap and a half, the Denmark-native worked his way into fourth, but a multi-car crash between the mid-fielders on the front straight brought his run to a halting stop. A long safety period ate a majority of the 30-minute race clock, and with less than 12 minutes left in the session the finally went green. In the final lap, Pedersen still in fourth, made his move for a podium finish. Going two-wide on the inside of Turn 1, Pedersen seized third and set fast-time once again for the race.
“The racing in the final round was intense. We started in the third row, but I knew the pace was there for us to win. I was gutted that we didn’t get more laps in as I believe we could have caught P1 and P2 in the end. However, I am thankful that all the drivers who were involved in the crash were o.k. and that the first responders and cleanup crew were fast to act,” Pedersen said. “We are now leading in the drivers’ championship heading into the next event, so it was a great way to end the strong weekend.”
Now, Pedersen sets his sights on the third event on the F4 U.S. schedule, which is slated for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course June 28-July 1. For more information about Pedersen or Global Racing Group, visit GlobalRacingGroup.com.
About Benjamin Pedersen:
Benjamin Pedersen is a 19-year-old professional Danish-American open-wheel driver, currently competing in the F4 U.S. Championship. Pedersen has extensive training behind the wheel of multiple types of vehicles, including the Subaru STI at DirtFish, road racing GT cars, Formula Mazda and kart racing, where he has achieved multiple wins and podium finishes. In his professional racing career, Pedersen has captured five-wins, with his most memorable win during the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix with F4, five top-three finishes, 17 top-ten placements and placed second in the FIA F4 U.S. 2017 points. His goal is to work his way through the formula ranks into Formula 1.
About Global Racing Group:
Global Racing Group masterminds the best race, rally and rallycross driver development programs in motorsport and applies a unique cross-discipline approach to its driver training. Its racing and commercial activities in F3 and F4 are strongly supported by three distinct advisory boards that specialize in the fields of business, motorsport competition and sports management. The personalities on these boards have years of experience in motorsport and can call on motorsport executive and Fortune 2000 company contacts around the world when there is a commercial requirement. Global Racing Group offers high-level sponsor and brand development services to businesses and brands that are interested in launching dynamic and bold engagement programs in motorsport.