Friday 15 December 2017

Motorsport: Two teams battle to sign McKenna

Dunlop Racing Driver of the Year Patrick McKenna is in negotiations with two teams following a very impressive trial with the Andersen Racing Star Mazda squad in Sebring last week, writes DECLAN QUIGLEY.

McKenna is being courted by the two top squads in the important Road to Indy feeder series after demonstrating his potential with lap-record pace shortly after being selected as Ireland's top racer for the second year in a row.

The 23-year-old Swords racer headed into the test buoyed by being selected as the Dunlop Young Racing Driver of the Year for the second consecutive time and carries the prestigious title with him, along with €50,000 of extra funding, into his contract talks.

Having secured a very impressive runner-up spot in the USF2000 series in his first year in United States racing, McKenna impressed hugely on his first outing in a Star Mazda car.

Having wowed the Andersen team with his form, McKenna is now understood to be deliberating about signing with long-time front-running squad Andersen or the Juncos Racing squad, which won this year's Star Mazda crown with Derek Daly's son, Conor.

McKenna has developed a strong reputation in the US thanks to his two wins in USF2000 along with six other podium finishes with Cape Motorsports and Wayne Taylor Racing.

The qualified engineer was not cowed by the daunting prospect of racing on ovals as he took his maiden win in the series on his oval debut at the 'night before the Indy 500' event at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

In retaining his prestigious title, McKenna saw off the challenge of Formula Libre racer Stephen Daly, Ginetta Junior Ireland stars Niall Murray and Andy O'Brien, Formula Sheane racer Kevin Sheane and Japanese Formula 3 contender Gary Thompson.

At home, meanwhile, the third round of the Irish Rallycross Championship is at Mondello Park on Sunday.

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