CHARLOTTE (September 5, 2023) – While most people think of “student athletes” as those playing football, soccer or softball on their school’s team, drivers in Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4 U.S.) are bringing a new meaning to the term as they balance life on and off the race track. Of the 39 drivers that have taken a checkered flag with F4 U.S. this season, at least 27 of them did so as student athletes.
Some F4 U.S. competitors not only made their first starts in the series this year, but also collected their college diplomas. Landan Matriano Lim (No. 2 JENSEN Ligier JS F4) took the checkered flag on his college career just one week before taking the green at Road America. With a double-major Bachelor’s degree in Management and Marketing, the Louisiana State University – Shreveport alum brought his cap, gown and diploma to the track for some unique graduation photos. Another May 2023 graduate, Nico Dal Monte (No. 23 Momentum Motorsports Ligier JS F4), made his F4 U.S. debut at Road America just days after his graduation from the University of Kentucky where he earned a degree in Sports Communications.
For students still enrolled in college, engineering and business remain common interests among the up-and-coming racers. Jett Bowling (No. 02 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) is kicking off his freshman year at Texas A&M University as an Engineering major, while Michael Boyiadzis (No. 3 JHDD / CSU One Cure / Lucas Oil / LHP Ligier JS F4) joined the Motorsports Engineering program at Purdue University. Another freshman at Purdue University is Bacon Zelenka (No. 45 Bacon Racing Ligier JS F4); the 17-year-old is studying Aeronautics at the prestigious university. Tyke Durst (No. 17 Gonella Racing Ligier JS F4) will begin his sophomore year as a Mechanical Engineering Technologies major at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Meanwhile, Patrick Woods-Toth (No. 27 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) is on an accelerated path, entering his third year at John Abbott College as an Engineering major and expecting to earn his degree at the end of the year. Luciano Martinez (No. 91 Scuderia Buell Ligier JS F4) is also studying Mechanical Engineering, completing his coursework in his home country of Argentina at the National University of Lomas de Zamora. A junior at the University of San Francisco, Daniel Cará (No. 10 Tenuta Foppa & Ambrosi Ligier JS F4) is a Business Administration major, and hopes to utilize his studies throughout his career—not only as a driver, but as an entrepreneur and team principal.
With an age requirement of 15 to compete in F4 U.S., many competitors are still in high school. Championship contender and Jay Howard Driver Development (JHDD) racer Michael Costello (No. 19 JHDD / CSU One Cure / Lucas Oil / LHP Ligier JS F4) is just starting his junior year at Naples High School, while teammates Eric Wisniewski (No. 7 JHDD / CSU One Cure / Lucas Oil / LHP Ligier JS F4) and Ava Dobson (No. 21 JHDD / CSU One Cure / Lucas Oil / LHP Ligier JS F4) are beginning their sophomore years. Meanwhile, their other teammates, Tanner DeFabis (No. 5 JHDD / CSU One Cure / Lucas Oil / LHP Ligier JS F4) and Kekai Hauanio (No. 29 N.E. Where Transport Ligier JS F4), are quickly approaching their high school degrees. JENSEN’s Everett Stack (No. 1 JENSEN Ligier JS F4) is embarking on his junior year, while Alex Berg (No. 08 MySim.ca / Rohde & Liesenfeld / Easy Drift / Penn Elcom Online / Dae Systems Ligier JS F4) and Jesse Lacey (No. 16 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) are both completing online programs to earn their high school degree.
For now, these students only need to worry about the classroom, but that will change with the Andy Scriven Memorial at the VIR Gold Cup SpeedTour just around the corner. F4 U.S. returns to the track at VIRginia International Raceway, October 5-8. Tickets for the event are on sale now at VIRnow.com. Be sure to follow F4 U.S. on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest news and updates.
Photo by Gavin Baker Photography.