FAIRFIELD, N.J., Jan. 21 - Andersen Walko Racing (AWR), one of the most successful formula-car prep shops in North America, announced today that Andrew and Doug Prendeville, Adam Pecorari and three-time and reigning SCCA Formula Continental National Champion Mike Andersen will compete in AWR entries this year in the Formula Ford Zetec Championship (FF2000), which is part of the Cooper Tires Championship Series.
The team's drivers line-up for its Formula SCCA (FSCCA) and SCCA national programs will be released soon.
Several of the drivers are in the middle of an extensive winter testing schedule organized by the company, which has offices in Fairfield, N.J. and a 7,500-square-foot race shop in North Versailles, Pa., near Pittsburgh.
Andrew Prendeville and Adam Pecorari plan to contest all of the FF2000 Zetec events, while Doug Prendeville and Andersen will run in selected events.
"Our goal is a one-two championship finish, nothing less, and with these two talented pilots running the entire schedule we can accomplish that goal," said team co-owner Dan Andersen.
Andrew Prendeville, 22, of Monroeville, Pa., finished fifth in the FF2000 Zetec championship last year running with AWR after earning the SCCA Formula Continental National Championship at the prestigious SCCA Valvoline Runoffs in 2002.
"I'm definitely going for the championship this year," he said. "I think we can do much better than we did last year. This year I want to be on top. I think the competition is going to be just as tough as last year, but I think my experience last year will really help going into this year's events."
Pecorari, of Ashton, Pa., ran in the FF2000 Zetec championship for the team last year too, scoring one podium finish and three top-five finishes and finishing eighth in points for the year. The 19-year-old was named the series' "Rising Star" at last year's awards banquet. Prior to moving into formula cars he captured two International Karting Federation (IKF) Grand National championships and was a finalist at the world-famous Monaco Cup in Monte Carlo.
"My goal is to be on the podium at every race," Pecorari said. "As far as the championship goes, we'll have to see. I believe that I have a good chance of winning the title, but Andrew is going to be one of the drivers who will be my toughest competition. It's going to be a good season."
Pecorari added that he's pleased to be a member of the AWR squad. "They're really a professional team and their cars are good," he said. "They're really nice guys too."
Doug Prendeville plans to compete in the first two races (Sebring, Fla. in March and Road Atlanta in April), while Mike Andersen's 2004 season is scheduled to begin at the Road Atlanta race. He plans to compete in approximately four events, and is especially looking forward to the two races at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Although Andersen has run only a limited schedule of SCCA Formula Continental events since 1998, the 30-year-old Green Pond, N.J.-based driver has accumulated a dozen SCCA national victories, 17 SCCA national poles, four SCCA Runoffs poles and five SCCA track records in addition to his three SCCA national Formula Continental championships. He took a break from competition from 1996 through 1997, but before that he was a star of the pro Formula Ford 2000 series, finishing fourth in 1992, second in 1993 and third in 1994.
"I'm not planning to defend my Formula Continental championship; we sold that car," he explained. "Once they finalize the FF2000 Zetec schedule I'll decide how many race I'll do. I usually do four or five races a year."
Can he beat his two teammates who will be running the entire schedule?
"Well, I'll try!" he said with a smile. "I've beaten Andrew before but I've never raced against Adam."
Doug Prendeville, Andrew's older brother by three years, lives in Morristown, N.J. He got started in the sport through local go-kart events and the Bertil Roos School. He won the Bertil Roos Hard-Charger Award in 2001. He competed in SCCA Formula Continental events in 2002, finishing third in the Northeast division point standing and nabbing a second place at the Valvoline Runoffs. He ran the entire FF2000 Zetec series last year with AWR, finishing 13th in points and gaining a great deal of experience which will help him in 2004.
AWR was formed in November 2002 with the merger of two-time SCCA national champions Andersen/Kish Racing and John Walko Racing. The team finished third overall in its first season together on the FF2000 Zetec trail. The team is led by Dan Andersen, co-owner, team president and Mike's father, and John Walko, co-owner, team manager and chief engineer.
Dan Andersen, one of the most influential men in the junior open-wheel formula car ranks in North America for over a decade, organized the U.S. Formula 2000 national championship series with partner Mike Foschi in the early nineties and ran it successfully through 2001. He has also owned and operated his own successful race team with his son for many years.
Walko is recognized as one of top engineers in Formula Ford, Formula Continental and Formula Ford 2000 racing today, with multiple SCCA national championships and runner-up finishes. He was chosen as "Engineer of the Year" for 2003 in the FF2000 Zetec series. He also ran the factory Carbir team in the U.S. F2000 series.
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