America’s Tristan DeGrand celebrated winning the Canadian 2014 Toyo Tires F1600 Championship on Sunday, 14th September, by notching his tenth win of the season to cap an outstanding year of racing from the Missouri teenager.
Competing at Ontario’s Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, DeGrand’s title was secured on Saturday, 13th September, when he finished second behind Race 1 winner Zacharie Robichon. Needing to finish eighth or higher to clinch the A-Class series, the 18-year-old duly delivered in a hard fought race to the checkered where his podium finish clinched his first Canadian open-wheel racing title.
Race 2 on Sunday saw a trademark performance from Eureka-based Tristan racing the #93 Exclusive Autosport Honda Spectrum entry. The Christian Brothers High School graduate wasted no time in chasing pole-sitter Steve Bamford and passing him for the lead.
Despite continuous race-long pressure from the break-away pack behind him, including season-long title rival Chase Pelletier, DeGrand exhibited the talent displayed all year to remain in control. His 10th victory in 12 race starts subsequently followed wrapping up a memorable season for the American where additional statistics in the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship included claiming eight pole positions.
Tristan won the 2014 Toyo Tires F1600 Championship with 1128 points over Ontario’s Chase Pelletier in second on 928 points.
“This year has been nothing short of a dream for me,” stated DeGrand on his title success. “I knew from the start of the year we had the potential to produce these results but to go out and actually deliver them is even better. There was no let-up in the pressure all season long so I’m extremely happy with myself, as a driver, and my team on how we dealt with that. We had a huge target on our backs because we were the ones to beat.”
He continued; “I believe that racing in Canada was the best place for me to really develop as a driver. The amount of seat time I enjoyed, and the time I was able to spend with my engineer really taught me so much about car racing and the technical elements of the sport.
“I want to thank everyone who’s helped me throughout the year including my team owner, Michael Duncalfe and his wife Kim, my engineer Remi Lanteigne, my parents and everyone on the Exclusive Autosport team. I’d also like to say a big thank you to Pro Am Golf USA, Sparco USA and to Spectrum, HPD and everyone involved in the Toyo Tire F1600 Championship. I can’t wait to see what 2015 holds for me now!”
A pair of wins in the Formula Tour 1600 Series at the Canadian Grand Prix in June were another notable highlight from the American’s 2014 campaign, when he showcased his skills throughout the Formula One™ weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
DeGrand’s talents racing north of the border have been recognized closer to home with his selection as one of six finalists in the prestigious Team USA Scholarship – a funded program to support American talents in the early stages of their careers.
Tristan’s participation in the final six shootout took place on Monday 8th September at Auto Club Speedway in California where a panel of judges evaluated the drivers based on their performance both in and out of the race car.
From there just two drivers are selected to represent Team USA at the world renowned Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, England and again at the Walter Hayes Trophy race at Silverstone, England in October and November.
Having enjoyed the experience alongside his fellow finalists, Tristan now waits to find out if he’s been chosen while reflecting on a stellar 2014 season culminating in his Toyo Tires F1600 title success.