The Blue Marble Radical Cup North America kicks off this weekend with a 30-car grid set to star alongside the NTT IndyCar Series for its season opening event at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend.
Two former Twelve Hours of Sebring winners, Jon Field and Chris McMurry, headline the highly competitive three-class field which includes multiple series champions and a swag of young guns looking to impress.
The newly named Platinum class will see the debut of Radical’s new turbocharged SR10 model featuring 425 bhp and 380lb-ft of torque alongside Radical’s SR8, SPYDER and RXC machines.
The SR10 is expected to set benchmark this season, however, with many only just arriving on U.S. shores, SR8 drivers may have the upper hand during the opening round.
The pace setter of last year’s Barber event, former American Le Mans class champion Jon Field (Bricker Home Design / SR8) returns to the series, after narrowly missing out on clinching the 2020 Platinum class title. This year he will be driving for Scott Wagner Racing, with Wagner himself set to drive an SR10 from Road America onwards.
Field will reignite the fight with reigning class champ Terry Olson (Team Fury / SR8) at Barber, however Olson has not yet confirmed a full season effort defending his title after signing with Precision Performance Motorsports in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America..
Class stalwarts will have their hands full, however.
2020 Outright and PRO 1500 champion Al Miller (Blue Marble / SR10) and 2018 PRO 1340 champ Louis Scriber (Shorewood Development Group / SR10) are just two of a number of drivers stepping up from the SR3 ranks this year to create a highly competitive eight-car class for Barber.
Young blood has flooded the PRO 1500 ranks this year, swelling entries to 15 cars for Barber. Former national Cyclocross (CX) champion and motocross rider Alex Morton of Team Stradale (pictured above) moves to Radical Cup after making four Formula 4 starts last year.
The 19-year-old has set his sights on a championship in his latest sporting discipline, even in what will be his rookie year.
Puerto Rican Gustavo Rafols (WISKO Racing) returns to the series after COVID travel restrictions curtailed last year’s campaign, but has numerous Radical Cup wins under his belt, finishing third in the 2019 1500 championship and runner up in the 2018 1340 class.
Palmer Miller (Radical Texas / ESSES Racing), Nick Pearson (Team Fury) and Noah Ping (Comprent Motorsports) are all 21-or-under and are all looking to build on their performances from last year.
Max Fedler is another rookie looking to make a mark. Fedler joins Group-A racing after converting to prototypes from years of GT racing, including World Challenge drives and a class win with Classic BMW/Vess Energy in the 2017 Creventic 24H COTA race.
And if Fedler is the ultimate downforce ‘apprentice’, his teammate, Steve Jenks (Audien Hearing / Group-A) is truly the ‘master’.
The 2018 F2000 champion has been a long time open-wheel star and has unfinished business in the Radical Cup after finishing runner up in the PRO 1500 class in his debut season last year.
However Jenks isn’t the only older hot shoe.
Jesse Menczer (DiscTech / One Motorsports) is a multiple Platinum class champion, and a race winner at Barber last year, while fellow Spring Mountain members Ron Fletcher (BeachHouses858) and Gregg Gorski (smokebuddy / One Motorsports) also know how to locate the Radical Cup podium.
Using the same Radical SR3 chassis as the PRO 1500 class, but with a 1340cc engine variant as the name suggests, the PRO 1340 class sees a revival this year with two new teams joining its ranks, and 7 cars for Barber.
Longtime IMSA Lites team Comprent Motor Sports will be fielding Jeff Ping, who finished runner up in last year’s class championship, while Radical’s Dealer of the Year, Apex Motor Club is fielding a three car effort via its service partner Crown Concepts.
Leading Crown’s charge will be 2005 Sebring class winner Chris McMurry (prisma), who is expected to set the pace, however teammates Vince Switzer (SwissTeknik) and Jason Plotke (Apex Country Club) are other standouts at the Arizona country club.
Autobahn Country Club member Mike Anzaldi (Emmett’s Energy), is another one to watch, given he finished with three podiums at Barber last year.
The Blue Marble Radical Cup season gets underway with official practice on Thursday, followed by qualifying, Race 1 and Race 2 on Friday, with Race 3 on Saturday.