Fielding four cars, Global Racing Group continued its podium-finish streak in the second Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda event at Road Atlanta. Danish-American Benjamin Pedersen extended his season-win tally to two after taking the checkered in the opening round. Pedersen followed up his victory with a top-five finish in Race 2 and claimed another podium in Race 3. The successful weekend jolted the Global Racing Group veteran into first place in championship standings, and the points Pedersen accumulated from both F4 U.S. weekends, tied Global Racing Group for third in team points.
Global Racing Group rookie Blake Upton and Parker Locke both experienced their best finishes of the season at Road Atlanta. Overall, Upton completed the weekend with 19 gained positions, passing 11 of those 19 competitors in the final round. F4 U.S. sophomore Locke continued his rapid development under GRG at Road Atlanta, finishing the weekend with 13 overtakes, 11 of which were in Race 3.
Global Racing Group’s fourth driver, Angel Durazo of Los Angeles, was unable to compete after she experienced mechanical issues in qualifying that prevented her from laying down fast enough lap times to qualify her for the event.
“Road Atlanta brought the team great points and we now have a driver leading the F4 U.S. Championship,” said Global Racing Group team principal Christian Pedersen. “We’re obviously excited about that, and we saw great progress from our other drivers as well who continue to progress in their aggressive development programs. Unfortunately, we had a surprise technical issue with Angela’s gearbox, which greatly jeopardized her weekend.”
On the challenging 2.54-mile, 12-turn track, Pedersen began the weekend strong, clocking the fastest time in the first practice and running with the top-four in the second practice. That speed carried over into qualifying, as he secured the second fastest time of the session.
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.
After qualifying, Upton was issued a penalty for causing a red flag during a session, which forced him to start at the back of the grid for Race 1. However, the set-back didn’t faze the rookie, as he made up six positions to finish 24th. After dodging an on-track incident between two other competitors that caused him to lose position, Locke made gains to finish close behind his GRG teammate in 26th.
In Race 2, a pair of full course yellows slowed the pace of all the Global Racing Group drivers. With only five green laps, each driver was still able to make progress. Dicing all race long, Pedersen procured a point finish in fourth, with his teammate Upton sliding into 26th place. Locke defended his starting position and finished the race in 25th.
The final round of the weekend was the most successful for Global Racing Group squad. A multi-car crash at the end of the first lap halted the race, causing an extended full-course yellow. With under 12 minutes remaining, the three GRG pilots made a dash to secure position before the checkered dropped. On the final lap, going two-wide on the inside of Turn 1, Pedersen seized the last podium spot and set fast-time once again for the race. Locke charged from his P26 starting position to finish the race just outside the top-15 in 16th and Upton picked off competitors one by one completing 11 total overtakes.
The next stop for the GRG crew is Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course June 29-July 1 supporting Formula Race Promotion.
“As we look towards Mid-Ohio, the clear goal is to have Benjamin consolidate and extend his lead in the championship. We’ll target a top-15 for Parker during the weekend, and we’ll look to Blake and Angela to continue their progress and run with the main field,” C. Pedersen said. “Mid-Ohio has a tendency to always throw a few surprises during the weekend, so we’ll have to be prepared for a bit of everything.”
For more information on Global Racing Group’s cross-discipline driver training program visit GlobalRacingGroup.com.
Global Racing Group – Driver Results and Quotes
F4 U.S. Championship – ROUNDS 4-6 – MAY 11-13, 2018
Road Atlanta – Braselton, GA, 12-Turn, 2.54-mile road course
Angela Durazo - #8
Qualifying: Did not qualify
Race 1: DNS
Race 2: DNS
Race 3: DNS
Driver Quote: “Atlanta was disappointing but also a valuable learning experience. I am looking forward to Mid-Ohio. Thanks to my team Global Racing Group for all their hard work and to Set Point Medical and Castro Motorsports for their continued support and encouragement. “
Blake Upton- #19
Qualifying: 29th – 1:31.347
Race 1: Start – 29th / Finish – 24th
Race 2: Start – 26th / Finish – 24th
Race 3: Start – 29th / Finish – 18th
Driver Quote: “I had an amazing time racing at Road Atlanta this past weekend. The track is super fun and the racing was really competitive. Our awesome crew kept my car running great all weekend and with support for my parents and sponsors I couldn’t be happier. I can't wait for our next race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and to getting to a technical track such as Mid-Ohio."
Benjamin Pedersen - #24
Qualifying: 2nd – 1:27.218
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 4th
Race 3: Start – 5th / Finish – 3rd
Driver Quote: “I’m super happy to be leading in points going into Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course! I look forward to showing our speed again at such an iconic track. Regardless of being first in points, the preparation will not change, and I will continue to push hard.”
Parker Locke - #66
Qualifying: 28th – 1:30.412
Race 1: Start – 28th / Finish – 26th
Race 2: Start – 25th / Finish – 25th
Race 3: Start – 27th / Finish – 16th
Driver Quote: “Road Atlanta was a great experience to have and a lot of fun to race on such a great track. We did not get the results we were hoping for, but we will prepare better for Mid-Ohio and we will come back much stronger! Mid-Ohio was one of my favorite tracks to race at last year, so I am very excited to get back on it!”
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.