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by Stefano Semeraro

Tatuus got off to a rocket start in their new

American adventure. The new Tatuus USF‐17

machinery passed its first test with flying

colors last November at Indianapolis. The car

is set to make its debut in the single‐make

USF2000 championship, the first step of the

“Mazda Road to Indy” ladder to the IndyCar

Series. The feedback was enthusiastic and the

many orders received by the Italian

manufactured confirmed the initial

impressions. Tatuus has already sold all the 35

chassis built so far.

The sixth Chris Griffin Memorial event gave

teams and drivers the chance to sample the

USF‐17 in action with 43 drivers on‐track in

the 8 sessions available for three series, also

including Indy Lights and Pro Mazda. Nine

teams went on‐track, four of them making

their debut, in perfect weather conditions. A

15‐year‐old from North Carolina, Neil

Verhagen topped four sessions out of eight

with an unofficial mark of 1’24”866, more

than one second clear of the official track

record set last May in 1’26”015.

Second place overall went to Matthew

Brabham. The 2012 series champion drove for

Cape Motorsport Wayne Taylor Racing.

Teenagers Kaylen Frederick and Robert

Megennis also spent some valuable time on‐

track while Andre Castro (Newman Wachs

Racing) set the fastest lap on Saturday. Trevor

Estep also impressed, driving the Tatuus USF‐

17 fielded by one of the new teams in the

series, Exclusive Autosport.

«I really like this car», said Verhagen at the

end of the test. «My confidence was

increasing lap after lap and, together with the

team, I soon started to understand how to to

tweak the set‐up, lapping quicker and


Matthew Brabham shared the same views:

«It’s an huge step forward compared to the

previous car, and it will definitely help young

drivers to understand how to drive a single

seater very quickly. You drive it like a kart,

but it reacts like a Formula Ford so it’s a

perfect developmental machine». The teams

were equally impressed as confirmed by

Augie Pabst of Pabst Racing: «Tatuus,

Dynamic, Elite Engines and all the other

partners did an amazing job and this fantastic

package is the result. It’s a different car

compared to the older one, and it’s better

under all aspects».

The opening round of the 2017 season,

scheduled over 8th rounds, will take place on

the 11th and 12th of March at Saint

Petersburg. At Palmetto, Florida, a shootout

is currently being held involving 18

contenders from all over the world (Australia,

Mexico, India, New Zealand and more…). The

winning driver will be awarded a 200.000$

scholarship for the 2017 season.

The great feedback gathered by the USF‐17

persuaded the promoters to anticipate the

launch of the other car designed by Tatuus for

the Mazda Road to Indy program, designed

for the 2018 Pro Mazda series. Although the

unveiling was originally planned for May

2017, the new racer will be showcased this

month at the Indianapolis PRI, the world‐

level exhibition and trade show involving

American and international motorsports.