MICHAEL D'ORLANDO ON THE PODIUM IN ROAD AMERICA
July 15, 2020
The wait is over. The 2020 Road to Indy driver development program is back in action and for Michael d'Orlando, his season kicked off with impressive results and his first podium appearance in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship series at one of America's most incredible circuits, Road America.
The two-day event at the 4.05 mile country setting of Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI started on Thursday with a practice day began with sunny skies for three out of the four sessions, and ended in tricky rain-soaked conditions for the fourth and final session. d'Orlando and his Indiana-based, Cape Motorsports, team worked tirelessly throughout the day to find the best car setup which ultimately resulted in the second fastest time in the first session and the third fastest time overall for the day.
Friday was race day for the Road to Indy program, as the support series for the NTT Data IndyCar double-header on Saturday and Sunday. The day kicked off with a single qualifying session, followed up by two races. The weather conditions made the qualifying session a little more difficult as heavy rains continued from the night before. d'Orlando was disappointed in his seventh place qualifying result but remained confident that the race results would be different. The 18-year-old, who is planning this season to be his first full season in a race car, kept his focus for the main events and kept his sights on the long term importance of earning points towards a season-long championship hunt. His performance in Race 1 was very consistent and steady for the 12 lap event with a fifth place finish in his first official race of the 2020 season.
"It definitely was an eventful race week which ultimately turned out to be a great result for me." explains d'Orlando. "We struggled a little bit in practice trying to find the right setup for the car and the rain didn't help. Qualifying was a bit difficult with the changing conditions and the result was not exactly what we were looking for. Although the start of Race 1 was a bit rough, I worked hard to regain some positions and stay focused on a solid result (5th) for points to start the season."
The starting positions for Race 2 were based on lap times from Race 1 and d'Orlando found himself starting 5th on the grid. Battling with the front group throughout the race, d'Orlando remained poised and patient moving forward one-by-one to bring home a second place finish, and his first official podium in the Road to Indy program.
"To come home with a podium in the season opener is definitely one to be remembered. We had a really good set-up in the car and it was a great battle with a strong group of drivers. I'm very proud of the result and grateful for all the hard work everyone at Cape put in. I'm super excited for the next round at Mid-Ohio with this great group of people."
The week's results put d'Orlando third in the Championship points. Winner of the season's championship earns a full scholarship in the next step of the Road to Indy driver development program, the IndyPro Championship. The Road to Indy program consists of three steps on their ladder system, with the ultimate goal of earning a seat in the NTT Data IndyCar series at the highest level of North American professional motorsports.
d'Orlando Enterprises would like to extend a special Thanks to their partners at UFC Gym - Mamaroneckl, Motor Media USA, Eiffel apparel and Focused Project Management.