In a preview of drivers and teams taking part in the upcoming USF Juniors season, the 2024 YACademy Winter Series title came down to the very last race where Exclusive Autosport’s Jack Jeffers won the championship over VRD Racing / Andretti Global youngster Sebastian Wheldon. With the final wheel-to-wheel action taking place at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, the championship protagonists started the final race on the front row with Wheldon being second only one point behind Jeffers.
The YACademy Winter Series consisted of three races on Thursday at Sebring International Raceway and two races on Saturday and one Sunday race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 21 drivers, the most ever at a Yacademy Winter Series, took part across six teams, all six of which are competing in the upcoming USF Juniors season. The series also marked the competitive debut at the USF Juniors level for Sebastian Wheldon, son of two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon and reigning champion of the Skip Barber Race Series.
Jeffers, driving for Exclusive Autosport, entered the final race with only a one-point lead over Wheldon. Jeffers finished off by closing a six-point gap entering the last three races at Homestead by winning the second race. He again won in the final race, securing his fourth straight win and the championship by 11 markers over Wheldon. Wheldon, who was running in third place behind his teammate Max Taylor, had a mechanical failure three laps from the end bringing out a full course yellow that ended the race with Jeffers on top.
The race also secured Exclusive Autosport the team championship through the combined efforts of Jeffers and teammate Evan Cooley, who finished third in the standings.
Strong Week for Exclusive Autosport
Perennial front-running team Exclusive Autosport won the team championship and drivers’ championship during the same weekend. Jeffers won four of the six races and had five podiums during the six races, starting from the pole position twice.
Evan Cooley was one of only two drivers to finish on the podium in all three of the races at Sebring. João Vergara moved steadily up the timesheets throughout the week, improving in each of the first four races from finishing 11th to finishing third. Vergara’s efforts were enough to hold off for fourth place in the championship by one point, securing Exclusive three of the top four spots in the championship standings.
Series Newcomers Shined
Drivers who were new to the USF Juniors series who practiced during the winter in test days held by YACademy at circuits like Barber Motorsports Park and NOLA Motorsports Park shined now that they have earned additional experience in a race weekend.
One of the rookie standouts was Leonardo Escorpioni who finished fifth in the championship for Zanella Racing after winning the second race at Sebring at only 13 years old. California native G3 Argyros got his first podium in race cars after finishing in second place in the second race at Homestead on Saturday afternoon.
- Jack Jeffers – 47
- Sebastian Wheldon – 36
- Evan Cooley – 32
- João Vergara – 18
- Leonardo Escorpioni – 17
- G3 Argyros – 14
- Patricio Gonzalez – 13
- Max Taylor – 12
- Rodrigo Gonzalez – 10
- Aidan Potter – 6
More About the YACademy Winter Series
YACademy operates its winter series to provide a friendly environment for drivers to improve their skills during the winter break. Through its test days at nationally renowned circuits and the winter series, drivers have the chance to hone their skills ahead of the upcoming season.
On top of the winter series for USF Juniors drivers and teams, USF2000 and USF Pro 2000 testing is also available at all YACademy dates. YACademy is an official corporate partner of the USF Pro Championships.
The YACademy Winter Series is operated by Promoter Gustavo Yacaman, who has taken part in prestigious series such as IMSA, WEC and Blancpain GT and has also spent years competing in junior formula categories like Formula 3, Formula BMW and Indy Lights.
For more information about YACademy, contact Gustavo at email@example.com or over the phone at 317-414-1124.
Photo Credit: YACademy