INDIANAPOLIS – Cape Motorsports completed its Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship lineup last week, as the four-driver lineup prepares to take on the highly competitive series field with the hopes of adding to the team’s historic championship history.
The four drivers – Michael d’Orlando, Spike Kohlbecker, Thomas Nepveu and Evan Stamer will join forces this season to chase a record 14th driver championship for the team, and a ninth team championship title.
The USF2000 season will begin in April at Barber Motorsports Park, with the season finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park in August – in total, 18 rounds comprised of five road courses, two street races and one oval. The series sees its first action in the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires Spring Training at Barber April 4-6.
Each of the four drivers has an impressive racing background, though only d’Orlando, 18, has a full season of USF2000 action under his belt. Finishing fourth in the final series standings last year, he captured his first series win at Mid-Ohio, earned six additional podium finishes and scored 14 top-10s in 17 races. Entering the karting ranks at the age of 6, d’Orlando won numerous national race and championship titles before graduating to race cars three years ago.
Nepveu, 16, has competed in more than 300 karting events around the globe, scoring numerous championships and race victories in his nine-year career with PSL Karting and Birel ART. Kohlbecker, 18, moved from karts to cars in 2017, and has also raced worldwide, finishing third in the 2018 Canadian Toyo Tires F1600 Championship, second in the Avon Tyres National FF Championship, seventh in the 2018/19 New Zealand F1600 Championship and third in the 2020 F4 US Championship Powered by Honda.
Stamer, 19, won multiple karting championships with Margay Racing/Ignite Karting, with victories at legendary race tracks such as Daytona and Indianapolis. Both Kohlbecker and Stamer began their racing careers with the Ignite Karting program, which helps young drivers move up through the karting ranks and are supported by Ignite Autosport in 2021.
The drivers are more than ready to get the racing season underway.
“I spent last week in Indianapolis getting everything ready – earpieces, Bell helmet, and spent some time in the sim at Dallara,” said d’Orlando. “From now until Spring Training, I’ll focus on gym time and of course, testing. I’ll take everything that I learned last year and put it toward the championship. The goal is to be consistent, be fast and qualify well. The team is so experienced and puts in so much work, and all four drivers are very dedicated, so we’ll come out swinging harder than ever.”
“Between now and Spring Training, I’ll focus on my race craft and improving my skills overall, off track even more than on track,” said Kohlbecker. “I work with the Central Institute for Human Performance (in St. Louis) and they help me with physical work, treatment and education – things like reading and juggling, which improves my mental focus in the present. That converts to better on-track performance. I’m looking forward to learning a great deal this season. The team obviously knows what they’re doing and that’s more confidence for me.”
“I can’t wait to start my first season racing a single seater with Cape Motorsports,” said Nepveu. “I know that they are a great team and that everything will be in place to ensure that I learn as much as possible over the season. I am committed to bringing the car and myself up towards the race leaders as quickly as possible and achieve some good results as early as possible in the season.”
“It’s a great team, they hire the best of the best,” said Stamer. “They obviously know what they’re doing, having won so many championships! It’s good to have three great teammates as I learn the car and the racetracks. I’m learning as I go, and this year will be all about gaining experience. I want to get consistent points finishes for the team and as I gain that experience, I don’t think podium finishes are out of the question. Between now and Spring Training, I’ll be spending a lot of time in the gym to get ready strength-wise, and the Capes have a top-notch simulator at their shop, so I’ll be working on that. Of course, it’s a balance, since I’ll be spending time on schoolwork as well, as I’m a freshman at Southern Illinois University.”