Your season guide to the 2023 USF2000 Championship

The 2023 USF2000 field contains a lot of exciting and talented drivers on their way to an IndyCar Series dream. In this season preview, Feeder Series explains everything you need to know ahead of this weekend’s season opener in St. Petersburg.

By Jeroen Demmendaal

In previous years, the USF2000 field featured a neat mixture of returning drivers and fresh talent, but this year there will be a lot of rookies. Partly, this is by design; a large number of drivers have made the step up from USF Juniors, the new entry-level series that series promotor Andersen Promotions launched in 2022.

USF Juniors was designed as a new step between karting and USF2000, and it has done just that: four of last year’s top-five finishers in Juniors have graduated for 2023. Likewise, several of last year’s USF2000 stars have moved up to USF Pro 2000 or even Indy NXT, in line with how the ladder should work. Of the top 10 in the 2022 standings, six have moved on to greater things.

The surprise is that quite a few other challengers of the 2022 season won’t return in 2023. Instead, out of about 20 full-time cars, there will be no fewer than 14 official series rookies, even if some of them sniffed at USF2000 competition already at the end of 2022. That means it’s harder than ever to predict who will rule the school in 2023; it also means we have a very exciting season ahead, as talent scouts seek to identify the IndyCar stars of the future.

Another big change with potentially serious consequences is that the reigning teams’ champions, Cape Motorsports, have left the series. Along with Pabst Racing, Cape have been the big kingmakers in the modern USF2000 era, but they have graduated to Indy NXT and sold their smaller cars. Who will fill their shoes and become the new go-to team for USF2000 champions-in-waiting?

DEForce Racing

A prime candidate is DEForce Racing, the only other team outside Cape and Pabst to deliver a driver champion since 2010. The team run by David and Ernesto Martinez returns with three cars, one of which will be filled by reigning USF Juniors champion Mac Clark – who is without doubt one of the most exciting talents in the field this year.

The Canadian may only be 18, but he has already been compared to his illustrious compatriots Greg Moore and Paul Tracy. Too much pressure? Maybe so, but after 2022, when he combined USF Juniors with Formula Regional Americas and won a race in his first USF2000 outing at Portland, many observers are convinced that he’s the next big thing from up north.

Mac Clark sat in front of car with a $500 prize cheque
Reigning USF Juniors champion Clark will be stepping up to USF2000 this year | Credit: José Mário Dias

The other DEForce cars will be driven by George Garciarce and Maxwell Jamieson. Garciarce, whose given name is Jorge but who prefers George in the US, had a quiet rookie season with Jay Howard in 2022, finishing 13th overall. The Mexican will have to start challenging for podiums and be a regular in the top 10. As for Jamieson, expectations for his rookie year are low. He was 15th overall in USF Juniors last year, so he’ll simply have to keep his car in one piece, finish races and learn.

Pabst Racing

Last year, Pabst Racing had a strong pairing in Myles Rowe and Jace Denmark, both of whom graduate with the team to USF Pro 2000 for 2023. But it’s been rather quiet around the squad from Wisconsin in terms of official USF2000 plans for this season.

What we do know is that Simon Sikes will wheel one of the cars in St. Petersburg. His past seasons demonstrate his undisputable talent, but as always with the 22-year-old from Atlanta, money is a problem. Right now, he has no funding beyond the opening round, so he will have to hope for a standout weekend and then for continued financial support, as happened with Rowe last year.

Feeder Series has learned that the team’s second car may not appear in St. Petersburg. This is because the intended driver, 13-year-old karting star Max Garcia, won’t be old enough to compete until the second round at Sebring. Garcia turns 14 on March 17 and it seems like team chief Augie Pabst has found himself another potential diamond in the rough that he can carefully polish into a future star.

Velocity Racing Development

Another team that has its eye on bigger things is Velocity Racing Development. Dan Mitchell’s squad has been successful in F4 US and USF Juniors in recent years and brings five cars to USF2000 this year. Danny Dyszelski is the only sophomore driver, having made the switch to VRD from Jay Howard after a strong finish to his rookie season. Still only 14 years old, he’ll face a strong set of rookies this year.

Driver wearing green helmet sat in a black car
Johnson finished third in USF Juniors in 2022 | Credit: Gavin Baker

15-year-old Sam Corry and 14-year-old Nikita Johnson finished second and third in USF Juniors behind Clark last year, and they were the 18-year-old’s main challengers for the title. Johnson has made no secret of his ambitions to switch to European racing and the Road to F1 eventually, but he will first aim for success in USF2000.

Noah Ping, meanwhile, finished third in F4 US last year and is another driver to keep an eye on – his brother Zack will also be racing as part of VRD’s USF Juniors squad this year. Gordon Scully, finally, is an interesting addition: he’s already 22 years old, but he joins USF2000 after starting his career at the Lucas Oil School of Racing last year.

Exclusive Autosport

With Jacob Douglas, Exclusive Autosport has another clear championship candidate in its ranks. The 17-year-old Kiwi came to the US in 2021 and finished 12th overall in his rookie USF2000 season in 2022, gaining speed considerably in the second half of the year. He also won the USF Juniors class of the Yacademy Winter Series earlier this year, so expect him to storm out of the gate at St. Petersburg.

The second car goes to Avery Towns, a 19-year-old who caught the racing bug via SCCA club racing and now enters his first year of professional motorsports. Their final driver will be Joey Brienza, who ran a handful of USF2000 races last year. His primary focus will be USF Juniors, but he will also run a partial USF2000 campaign in 2023.

Jay Howard Driver Development

Jay Howard Driver Development have had a few rough years in USF2000, but that might very well change in 2023, as they bring Lochie Hughes up from their F4 US squad. The 20-year-old Australian won the F4 title convincingly in 2022 and has known Howard since his karting days; he could be a dark horse for the title.

Two men pushing USF2000 car through the paddock
Jay Howard Driver Development have had a tough few years in USF2000 | Credit: Gavin Baker

As for the rest of the four-car squad, Evagoras Papasavvas returns to the series for a second year after an unlucky 2022 in which he got sidelined for several months by injury. This year is when his USF2000 career properly begins. Louka St Jean also graduates from US F4 but will face a steep learning curve. The same goes for Al Morey IV, who has one ninth place in F4 US on his CV but not much else yet.

New teams

Finally, there are some new teams on the grid. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development fields one car for Elliot Cox, who had a reasonable year in USF Juniors in 2022. At 15 years old, Cox is still very young, and the Indiana driver can learn a lot from former IndyCar star Fisher.

Future Star Racing also expands into USF2000 after previous campaigns in USF Juniors, FR Americas and F4 US. In St. Petersburg, the team will field two cars for Andre Castro and Trey Burke, both returning to the series after earlier campaigns were cut short by funding struggles. Whether they will stay in the car after the first round or hand over the steering wheel to others is unclear at this point, but FSR aims to run at least two cars all season and has a third car available if there is interest.

DC Autosport will for certain not run the full season and won’t be in St. Petersburg. The team will, however, contest the races at Indianapolis, Road America, Mid-Ohio and Portland with Ethan Ho alongside a full-time USF Juniors campaign.


Rounds 1–2: Streets of St. Petersburg (3–5 March)
Rounds 3–4: Sebring International Raceway (23–26 March)
Rounds 5–7: Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (11–13 May)
Round 8: Lucas Oil Raceway (25–26 May)
Rounds 9–10: Road America (15–18 June)
Rounds 11–13: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (29 June–2 July)
Rounds 14–15: Streets of Toronto (14–16 July)
Rounds 16–18: Portland International Raceway (31 August–3 September)

Where to watch

If you want to follow the USF2000 sessions and races this year, make sure to download the USF Pro Championships app to follow your favourite driver. If you don’t have access to the app, you can also check the USF Pro Championships social channels or the series’ website.

Header image credit: Gavin Baker


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