USF2000-bound Billy Frazer is excited for the opportunities awaiting him in his first season racing internationally.
The reigning national Formula Ford champion recently partook in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series. He finished third in the championship, with two podiums and a race win to his name.
Now, Frazer is preparing for the next step of his career.
The young New Zealander will be heading stateside to contest this year’s USF2000 championship with Exclusive Autosport.
The first step in the four-tier Road to Indy programme, a drive in USF2000 puts Frazer on the path towards IndyCar. The next progression step will be a hopeful move to the Indy Pro 2000, before Indy Lights and finally a seat in the premier IndyCar Series.
Speaking with Velocity News ahead of his move to the United States, Frazer said he is gunning for the chance to race overseas. He also revealed that the drive came out of a missed opportunity to race alongside Formula 1.
“I was actually meant to race a Formula 1600 car at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal last year, which would have been an awesome opportunity,” Frazer said.
“We would have been a support class to the Formula 1 guys. So, it was unfortunate that that couldn’t happen.
“But the owner of the Exclusive Autosport team, which I was supposed to race the F1600 with, Michael Duncalfe, kept in touch with me since that missed chance. What came out of it was a chance to run to USF2000, so I took it up and here I am, leaving in less than a month to race in America.
“I am super excited with the opportunity. Racing in America has been a big goal for me, so this is definitely I chance I did not want to miss.”
Besides turning several laps with the USF2000 car on iRacing back home, Frazer won’t get his first real-life taste of the new machine until a test session in Alabama.
The series utilises the Tatuus USF-17 chassis and is powered by a two-litre Mazda MZR engine punching 175hp.
Adapting to the new car will be Frazer’s first hurdle to overcome once he arrives in the United States. However, he is hoping his time spent in Formula Ford back home and competing in this year’s TRS, will alleviate the challenges faced with the USF2000 car.
“[The USF200 car] has wings-and-slicks, like the TRS, but it has a chassis similar to the FT50 (the generation of TRS car used between 2015 and 2019)
“It will be interesting to see how I go the first time. The car will have a lot less power and speed than the TRS car and should handle more like the Formula Ford.
“So, I am hoping the skills I learnt in TRS on how to drive a fast car smoothly will transition into my time racing the USF2000. But we will have to wait until I get into the car for the first test at Barber Motorsport Park.”
Frazer will be teamed with Christian Brooks for the full 18-race season. Brooks made his single-seater debut in US Formula 4 in 2019 before moving to the USF2000 Series with Exclusive Autosport last year.
The American finished fifth in the championship and recorded a pole position and maiden victory in the final round at St. Petersburg.
Having such an experienced teammate gives Frazer a competitive benchmark to pace himself against and someone to learn from over his rookie season.
“I don’t have any expectations in terms of results, but you always want to be competitive and up the front.
“Having Christian in the team means I can ask him plenty of questions on how to find speed. Plus, he will be someone good to compare myself to and track how well I am doing.”
Frazer will also have the opportunity to race as a support class to the IndyCar Series at certain rounds this year. He is hoping to catch some advice from some of New Zealand’s best.
“I have been in contact with Scott Dixon over email, talking about me racing in America. Hopefully, I can catch a few words with him while over there.
“I have also been talking with Hunter McElrea, who raced USF2000 in 2019 and moved up to Indy Pro. He has been really great to catch up with and knows what he is talking about.”
Frazer departs for the United States midway through March but will have one final race meeting in New Zealand before setting off.
He will be racing in Sunday’s round of the North Island Formula Ford Championship at Hampton Downs. The day also acts as the opening round to the 2021 New Zealand Formula Ford Championship.
The first race of the 2021 USF2000 season will be at Barber Motorsport Park on April 17-18.