Team commits to purchasing multiple Tatuus USF-17 chassis in preparation for debut in Mazda Road to Indy competition
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – Canadian junior open-wheel formula racing team Exclusive Autosport is joining the ranks of the Mazda Road to Indy in 2017.
The team has already purchased two Tatuus USF-17 chassis and intends to add another at a later date, setting the stage for a three-car effort in the Championship Class of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda when the Tatuus becomes the competition standard at the beginning of next season.
As the North American factory team for Spectrum racing chassis, Exclusive Autosport will also enter its Spectrum 014Z F2000 in the National Class.
Building on the team’s extraordinary record of success, which includes nine major Formula 1600 championships across North America in its first three years of competition, Exclusive Autosport expects to be competitive immediately by applying its core values of professionalism, teamwork, and excellence within this new venue.
Below, team principal Michael Duncalfe discusses Exclusive Autosport’s intentions and motivations as he leads preparations for his team’s Mazda Road to Indy debut in 2017.
Why has Exclusive Autosport made the decision to expand into USF2000 and become part of the Mazda Road to Indy?
Michael Duncalfe: We have a number of reasons. First, the timing is right for us as an organization. We have been highly successful in Formula 1600 competition over the last three and a half years, winning nine championships, four Rookie of the Year championships, and two Masters championships. Using this positive momentum as a base is important in making a seamless transition.
We also want to provide opportunities for our drivers to continue their open-wheel development within the Exclusive Autosport organization. Moving into USF2000 allows us to form our own internal ladder system, which we believe is a crucial component of a well-rounded open-wheel program.
Lastly, the introduction of the Tatuus USF-17 spec chassis is also a vital part of the decision.
What role did the introduction of the new Tatuus USF-17 spec chassis to the series play in Exclusive Autosport’s decision?
MD: It was a major decision point for us in this expansion into the Mazda Road to Indy. We knew that the Van Diemen’s life span in the series was limited, and since the Tatuus USF-17 will be a new car for everyone it will allow us to enter the series on a level playing field.
The Van Diemen chassis was also in direct conflict with our Spectrum 014Z F2000. We‘re thrilled that the introduction of the new car has allowed us to expand our program while still being loyal to the Spectrum F1600 and F2000 brand that we’ve been distributing in North America since our team’s inception.
How many Tatuus USF-17 chassis has the team already purchased, and how many cars does the team intend to run in USF2000 in 2017?
MD: We have purchased two Tatuus USF-17s, which will be arriving with the first container shipment in September. Our intention is to purchase one more and run a three-car operation in the Championship Class as well as one entry in the National Class with our Spectrum 014z F2000.
Will Exclusive Autosport continue to dedicate effort and resources into its other junior formula programs as it prepares to enter USF2000?
MD: Absolutely. In my opinion, Formula 1600 racing is a valuable training ground for drivers, whether they are new to racing entirely or making the jump from karts to open-wheel competition. We will continue to run our championship-winning Formula 1600 program as we have for the past three and a half years. The only change for us is the in-house ladder system that adding the USF2000 program creates under the Exclusive Autosport umbrella. This gives Exclusive Autosport drivers, Spectrum drivers worldwide, and drivers who are new to our program an opportunity to continue their development under one roof while fostering relationships with our coaches, engineers, and crew. These unique relationship-building experiences are among the many skills our drivers learn in their time with us and carry with them throughout their racing careers.
Exclusive Autosport is North America’s factory team for Spectrum, a formula car chassis builder based in Australia. How will the team carry its relationship with Spectrum into USF2000?
MD: We firmly believe that Spectrum has the superior Formula 1600 product, and incredible drivers continue to pilot Spectrum chassis to race wins and championships around the the world. Our goal is to make the transition into the Mazda Road to Indy seamless not only for Exclusive Autosport drivers but also Spectrum drivers worldwide. We will work with the factory to create opportunities for drivers to advance their careers.
The USF2000 Championship introduced the National Class in 2016 that allows a variety of manufacturers to compete. This creates a perfect opportunity for Exclusive Autosport to put our Spectrum 014Z F2000 on display in the Mazda Road to Indy alongside the spec Tatuus USF-17s that will race in the Championship Class.
About Exclusive Autosport
Formed in 2013 and based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Exclusive Autosport has quickly forged a reputation as being among North America’s premier junior formula outfits. Success came quickly under Michael Duncalfe’s leadership with notable achievements including the 2015 F1600 Formula F Championship and back-to-back driver titles in 2013 and 2014 in the Canadian Toyo Tires F1600 A-Class Championship (Ontario) and the Formula Tour 1600 Championship (Quebec). Exclusive Management Inc. is the official North American Importer and Distributor for Spectrum Chassis, designed and produced by Borland Racing Developments in Australia.