INDIANAPOLIS (August 22, 2022) – Millions of students around the globe are preparing to start a new academic year, and among them are seven drivers from the Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) paddock. Some will move into a dorm while others will log in online, but there’s one thing they all have in common—they’re picking areas of study to help them in the pursuit of their motorsports dreams.
“It’s encouraging to see so many of our young drivers excel not only on the racetrack, but also in the classroom,” said Sydney Davis Yagel, FR Americas Championship Director. “Part of the reason that we put so many races on the same weekend is so we can have a condensed schedule that doesn’t require our drivers to constantly be on the road. Nearly half of our paddock is pursuing post-secondary education—and that’s in addition to drivers who have already earned degrees and certificates. I think we’ve found a good balance that allows competitors to pursue both their education and motorsport goals.”
FR Americas drivers enrolled in post-secondary education programs are aligning their areas of study with their goals on the racetrack. With business, marketing and engineering being the most common fields of study, most drivers are beginning their freshman year after celebrating high school graduations over the spring and summer.
Focused on learning more about cars and engineering, Mac Clark (No. 25 Future Star Racing Ligier JS F3) has enrolled at Ontario Tech University to study in the only accredited automotive engineering program in Canada. Athreya Ramanan (No. 96 Cedar Coast / Outland Living / Lordco / Jevity / Penn-Elcomm / LA Prep / Kirby Studio Ligier JS F3) will study both engineering and business administration when he begins classes at Purdue University in the coming days. Currently sitting second in the FR Americas championship point standings, Dylan Tavella (No. 14 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) already has one manufacturer certificate from Universal Technical Institute and is looking to advance with another certification.
After graduating high school in Bolivia this summer, Rodrigo Gutierrez (No. 10 Velocity Racing Development Ligier JS F3) will move to Florida to study business administration at the University of South Florida. Likewise, Nick Persing (No. 29 OPI Commercial Builders Ligier JS F3) will study business and marketing when he begins classes later this week at Boise State University. Meanwhile, Future Star Racing driver Aaron Jeansonne—the lone upperclassman in the FR Americas paddock—will continue his studies at Indiana University East where he’s working toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Attending Clackamas Community College, Cooper Becklin (No. 91 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) will face a unique challenge balancing both his racing and college coursework, and beyond that, being a collegiate-level student/athlete. With a scholarship, Becklin will be on the college’s track and field team during the Spring 2023 semester competing in the high jump.
The driver/students will have only a couple weekends balancing their responsibilities, as the 2022 FR Americas season winds down with two events remaining on the calendar. The series will return to the track October 6-9 for the Andy Scriven Memorial at the Mission Foods VIR SpeedTour, before closing out the year with the Mission Foods Austin SpeedTour at Circuit of The Americas, November 2-5.
Photos courtesy of drivers: Top, Athreya Ramanan arrives on Purdue University's campus. Middle, Nick Persing studies in his dorm room at Boise State University. Bottom, Cooper Becklin competing in the high jump. Next spring, he will compete on Clackamas Community College's Track and Field team.