PLYMOUTH, Wisconsin (May 23, 2023) - Era Motorsport is celebrating an exciting weekend with multiple wins, podiums, and firsts at the Road America SpeedTour.
The team ran three cars at America’s National Park of Speed, “The Black Pearl” HPD ARX-03b driven by Jason Miller in Group 11, a 1994 Nissan 300ZX in driven by Rick Knoop in Group 10, and Matthew Higgins’ Ligier JSF4 competing in the second round of the Formula 4 US Championship Powered by Honda.
Era Motorsport was able to walk away with three wins, another podium, and the teams’ first points in the F4 US Championship despite a weekend riddled with red flags.
Formula 4 US Championship
The F4 US Championship was admittedly a frustrating time for the team this weekend due to the amount of session stoppages.
With 18 red flags and safety cars spread across the seven on-track sessions, learning the track and figuring out a set up for the car took far longer than it should have, but despite the setbacks Higgins was still able to find speed and impress.
In the first race of the weekend with a new setup on the car Higgins managed to overtake seven cars in the only full points race of the weekend, and with a higher starting position for Race 2 there were high hopes for a strong run.
Unfortunately in Race 2 three safety cars meant zero green flag laps were completed, and there was no time to move up the pack.
Thankfully the final race of the weekend was a bit more forgiving, as a multi-lap green flag stint gave Higgins the run he needed to finally move up in the field.
While the race was still stopped twice, and only half points were awarded, Higgins went from 15th on the starting grid to seventh overall in just a few laps, taking his first points in the F4 US Championship.
“It was a difficult weekend with the lack of laps from the red flags,” Higgins said, “unfortunately there’s not much we can do there.
“But, in the last race going from 15th to seventh was amazing, big thanks to the team for getting a fast car together and making it possible.”
Team owner and driver coach Kyle Tilley was on-site as well, and was impressed with Higgins’ performance.
“I’m delighted for Matthew Higgins to get his first top 10 finish in F4,” he said, “and it’s even better with him starting 15th on the grid and driving up to seventh in only three or four green flag laps.
“It’s especially nice to see after a pretty trying weekend with some pretty shocking driving standards in the series,” Tilley added.
The next round of the Formula 4 US Championship Powered by Honda will be June 22-25 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Sportscar Vintage Racing Association
While Higgins was racing the modern car for the weekend, the historic cars were being race by Jason Miller and Rick Knoop
In the Group 11 HPD ARX-03b LMP2 car, Jason Miller was fast from the very beginning of the weekend, all the way through to the end.
Miller was the leader of every session he partook in, including qualifying and both race sessions.
The main competition came in the form of an Audi R8 LMP1 car, but “The Black Pearl” managed to pull multiple seconds out of it each lap for a runaway victory in both feature races.
“This was a weekend for the record-books,” said Miller on Victory Lane. “Era Motorsport, [car owner] Jim Bartel provided me with an absolutely fabulous car.”
“I feel honored to pilot the car, and I think the results stand for themselves. I’m just so happy! Ear-to-ear grin.”
“Magnificent weekend, and I really just appreciate the fans, the people, and everyone who helps support these types of races.”
Miller wasn’t the only one to pick up podium finishes on the team however, Long-time professional race car driver Rick Knoop was behind the wheel of the iconic Nissan 300ZX racing in Group 10.
Knoop was able to take the win in the GT2 category on Saturday, and placed second in the category on Sunday for two podium finishes.
“I was honored to be here,” said Knoop “[Bartel] has been a close friend of mine, so he asked me to drive.”
“I competed against the Nissan in years past in the GTO category, and I knew many of the co-drivers of the car.
“It is crisp, it’s very balanced. It’s telling you it WANTS to be driven, and it has a lot of horsepower!
“44 years ago this weekend I won my first race here, so I’ve been around for a while but it’s always great to meet new people and teams.
“The Nissan was very well prepared and we had a very enjoyable weekend and we podiumed both days!”