After a long period of silence from Harry Westwood, due to what we can only presume is part of his team's focus on research and development, but today he called a press conference, as well as inviting team principals Dylan Lopez and Ryan Petersen to speak.
Charlotte, North Carolina – FIRST Motorsport have announced their second 2016 race driver in a press conference at the team’s headquarters near Charlotte, North Carolina. FIRST Motorsport co-founder and Team Principal Adam Blocker was on hand, as was FIRST Technical Director Seth McCormick, and the team’s newly announced driver.
Here is the full transcript from the press conference:
Adam Blocker: “Firstly, I would like to thank all members of the media that have turned up here in Charlotte today for this very special announcement. The team is incredibly excited for next season and our preparations are getting more and more complete every day. One big part of this preparation is confirming our driver lineup and getting both drivers into the simulator and talking to the engineers to help develop the 2016 car.”
Reporter: “And who will the second driver be?”
Adam Blocker: “I, on behalf of FIRST Motorsport, am very pleased to announce that Douglas Bacon will be FIRST’s second race driver for 2016. Come on out Douglas!”
(Douglas Bacon walks up to the stage to shake the hands of Blocker and McCormick and pose for photos)
Reporter: “Fantastic News. We will hear from Douglas in a moment, but first back to you Adam. Why is Douglas the right fit for FIRST?”
AB: “Douglas has significant experience in Formula Virtual and has also demonstrated that he is a quick driver, even at the pinnacle of virtual motorsports. He proved his pace by putting a Westwood on the pole in Germany in 2013, a position that car realistically did not ‘deserve’ to be put into. In addition to his strong pace, Douglas demonstrated consistency in his time with Westwood. Consistency is important to any Formula Virtual team, but it is particularly crucial to a team that is trying to establish itself in the sport like we are. On top of these things, Douglas understands the sport very well and knows what it takes to score points on a regular basis in the series. I am sure with his experience and skill, Douglas will be a crucial addition to the team for 2016.”
R: “Thanks for that Adam. What about you Douglas? Why is FIRST Motorsport the right fit for you?”
Douglas Bacon: “Well, after missing out on a drive in 2015 I honestly thought my Formula Virtual career was over, at least as a full time driver. Not many drivers that are 33 years old get the chance to come back after missing out as I did. So, I am grateful Adam and FIRST for offering me a job. But me joining FIRST is more than just me having the chance to race again. By signing with FIRST, I get the opportunity to help lead and guide the world’s first all-American Formula Virtual team into the sport. It isn’t too often that any driver gets to help a team enter the sport, let alone a team of his own nationality. I know that the first year might not be great, but I am confident in the abilities of FIRST and Ford to build a competitive Formula Virtual outfit.”
R: “Great. Thanks for that Douglas. To you Seth: can you give us any details on the development of the 2016 car? Is it all being designed and built right here in Charlotte?”
Seth McCormick: “The development of the 2016 car and engine are both on schedule. The car, which we will announce the name of later, will be assembled right here in Charlotte. Everything except for the engine is being designed here as well. The engine is being designed near Ford’s headquarters in Deerborn, Michigan.”
R: “That is good news for the local economy. Are there any plans to open up a satellite base in Europe?”
SM: “That is something we are looking into. With the number of races in a season and the quick turnaround required between some races it would be nice to have a secondary base in Europe designed to prepare the cars between and before European rounds.”
R: “Okay. Back to you Adam: did Douglas’ nationality factor into the decision making process at all?”
AB: “I would be lying to say it didn’t factor at all. Don’t let that answer mislead you though, Douglas earned this seat based on his previous performances, his experience, and his general attitude towards our project. The fact that he is an American is simply a bonus.”
R: “Does it mean anything to you that FIRST now has an American driver, an American engine, and American tires all in an American team?”
AB: “Of course it means something, but it will mean a lot more if we succeed in the long term. It is great to be known as the first American team, but it will mean a lot more to be the first American team to score points and hopefully podiums and victories in the future. Don’t get me wrong: it is hard to even turn up in Formula Virtual, but it is a lot harder to be successful.”
R: “Douglas, will it be difficult to get used to racing again after being out of the sport for one and half years?”
DB: “It might be, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could do it. With the quality of the simulators today, the transition should be pretty smooth so I am not too worried about it.”
R: “And how did you spend your year off?”
DB: “I continued to work out and train as usual, but the most important thing was spending more time with my wife and kids. Both of my sons, Mike and Brian, are really young so it is important for me to be there while they are in the early stages of development. Fortunately, with FIRST being based in the U.S. my family doesn’t have to move out of the country to live with me.”
R: “I guess that is an added bonus for you as well. To all of you: What are your targets for the upcoming season?”
AB: “To finish races, score at least one point, and learn a lot for the future.”
DB: “On a personal level, my goal is to finish as many races as possible and take advantage of points scoring opportunities when they present themselves. It would be really cool to become the first American to score points in a completely American engineered car.
SM: “From an engineering perspective, I would like the team to learn all about the inner-workings of the sport and begin to learn about all of the fine details that are required to be successful in Formula Virtual. If we can do that, finish as many races as possible, and take our chances when they present themselves, I think we will have a great platform to build on for years to come.”
R: “Well I hope FIRST achieves the goals that you guys have laid out for the team. Do you have any closing remarks Adam?”
AB: “I just would like to thank everyone for their interest in the project. We have had lots of support from locals really pushing us on. That is what we need, and I hope we can live up to their hopes and dreams for this team. Thanks to everyone for coming out, have a nice night everyone!”
Credit to FIRST Motorsport media for sharing the transcript of the press conference.
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