The driver development program that began three years ago between Speed Concepts Racing and driver Luca Mars draws to a close after a tremendous run! The team and driver combined for an impressive run through the junior ranks scoring championships in the Florida Winter Tour, Superkarts USA (SKUSA) Winter Series, ROK Cup USA and Rotax US Finals along with scores of wins in every major series including SKUSA Pro Tour, United States Pro Kart Series and World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup.
The program was originally designed to carry through the end of the junior campaign but the chemistry between the team and driver was so positive that all parties wanted to extend it another year for Luca’s maiden season in the senior ranks. The decision paid dividends nearly instantly as Luca earned second in the Florida Winter Tour Championship, won the Rotax US Finals, scored SKUSA Pro Tour wins and was at the front in every event. The consistency the team and driver showed earned them a second in the eKartingnews.com Senior Driver Rankings as well.
“We brought Luca into the program with the confidence that he would excel in our system and help us build our junior program as well – the results speak for themselves,” expressed Mike Speed. “We’ve enjoyed watching him grow and develop into a great young man as well as a driver. Hopefully we are able to work together again in the future as we part ways with nothing but respect and admiration for our driver both on and off the track.”
For the Mars family, it was a home away from home for much longer than anticipated. Along with the success achieved together with Mike and Alex in North America, the international opportunities afforded to Luca began early as well as the team’s first event together in 2018 earned Luca his first Rotax Grand Finals ticket! Along the way the team was able to earn a ROK Cup Superfinal ticket, three Rotax Grand Finals tickets and an invitation to participate in the FIA Academy program.
“Joining up with Mike and Alex proved to be everything we hoped for and more,” added Brett Mars. “Their track record of driver development at the highest levels was the initial attraction but we really found a home that turned a short-term opportunity in to a long-term partnership. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for us and would strongly recommend Speed Concepts to anyone looking for a youth development program.”
The team really wanted to go out on a high note together at ROK the RIO, the ROK Cup USA finale in Las Vegas, as all involved knew this was the last race together. Fate was unkind in the final despite qualifying on the front row, leading laps and running in the top-five in all the heats. While still finishing in the top-ten, it certainly wasn’t the sendoff all wanted.
“It has been a lot of work on all of our parts to have the success that we’ve all enjoyed together, and it has been a lot of fun too,” added Alex Speed. “It is always rewarding to see young drivers come through our system and move on to exciting futures. We’ll be cheering for Luca wherever he races and will build on his success here with our next group of drivers as well.”
Luca will still be found in the karting paddock at select events during 2021 but will be shifting gears toward opportunities in cars primarily. After a year of testing various cars in 2020, the rising star will pursue the Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship in the IMSA series beginning in January.
“Over my three seasons racing with Speed Concepts Racing I’ve learned more than I have in my whole racing career,” explained Luca Mars. “I can’t thank Mike Speed and Alex Speed enough for all that they have taught me! I am looking forward to taking what I’ve learned from them and applying it to cars. I’ll continue to run the infamous Speed #41 on our new car as a thanks to them and hope to continue with the success that we had together.”
For more information on Speed Concepts Racing and the Redspeed Racing Kart, please contact Mike Speed via email to Mike@Speed-Concepts.com. Be sure to follow Speed Concepts Racing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news, results, information, and photos from the event. Find us at ‘Speed Concepts Racing’ or @SCR_Karting.
Photos: Canadian Karting News