MICHAEL D'ORLANDO ON THE MOVE AT MID-OHIO
August 6, 2018
When you only get four opportunities in a year to gain race experience and also compete against some of North America's top, and increasingly experienced competition, you're forced to learn fast. After developing his skills in gokarts over the past 10 years, where big budgets provide ample opportunity for other competition, Michael d'Orlando has mastered the ability of a quick learner.
d'Orlando returned to racing action at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio this past weekend for the 10th, 11th and 12th rounds of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. With most of the competition taking action in all (or most) rounds of the series, this was only d'Orlando's fourth race weekend in the Mazda Road to Indy. After an impressive showing at Road America with a 6th place result, d'Orlando kept the Team Benik #51 Tatuus machine in one piece and within the top-8 all weekend long at Mid-Ohio.
He kicked off the event on Friday with a solid qualifying effort of 5th for Race #1. The race was loaded with contact, including three safety cars for almost 12 of the 20-lap event. d'Orlando was forced to avoid contact and ultimately slipped back to 17th in the opening corners. He then skillfully avoided further incidents and capitalized on every opportunity available and moved his way back forward for a final result of 8th place.
His qualifying effort of 7th place for Saturday's Race #2 put him once again in the heat of the battle as he diced it up in the top six. However, an unfortunate drive-through penalty forced his final result to a disappointing 20th, albeit his speed of this race earned him a 6th place start for Sunday's Race #3.
Sunday's Race #3 would show d'Orlando's best performance yet, keeping in the mix with some of USF2000's most experienced drivers. Keeping pace behind the train of the 5-8th place cars, after the top four broke away to a substantial lead due to another on-track incident, d'Orlando maintained his position for another top-8 result.
"I really loved it here at Mid-Ohio over the past couple of weeks" claims Michael d'Orlando. "We were pretty quick right from the start and stayed consistent over the race weekend. I feel like we made a big jump in my progress. The race at Road America, and again this weekend, really gave me the opportunity to gain some experience and work on my race craft near the front of the grid and that is really important in a drivers' development. The team at Benik have been working so hard consistently over the past months, and working really closely with me both on and off the track to help try to get me caught up to speed as fast as possible. I have very little experience and seat time compared to my competition so working together has been imperative. The car is fast and I think we have progressed more in just four races than we expected."
"Michael's recent form is showing glimpses of exactly what he's capable of. From Day One he has shown potential to be racing right at the front." says Team Benik Engineer, Daniel Mitchell. "Our pace in qualifying was good, but there's still more to come. Although the final results may not yet be what we want, the steep learning curve that Michael has been on, with limited racing, means he's on his way up."
d'Orlando Enterprises would like to thank all their partners throughout the season including New York based companies Focused Project Management, Dean Bellantoni at UFC Gyms - Mamaroneck & White Plains, Celtic General Contractors, DB Collaborative, and Iona Preparatory School. A special appreciation to the team at Team Benik and ItalSport for their ongoing hard work and leadership throughout the year. And as always, our continued gratitude to all our friends, family, and fans who have supported us throughout the years!
For more information on Michael d’Orlando, and for opportunities to be a part of the development of this young talent, contact d’Orlando Racing at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rickard Franchini of Italsport at email@example.com. Follow Michael on social media at Instagram (dorlandoracing), Facebook (Michael d’Orlando Racing) and Twitter (dorlandoracing).