Peter Vodanovich has been confirmed to race in the 2021 USF2000 series, becoming the second Kiwi to join this year’s championship.
Vodanovich will be racing with the Jay Howard Driver Development team for the 18-race championship. He leaves for the United States next week.
Last year, Jay Howard Racing Development driver Christian Rasmussen went on to win the series title.
Vodanovich recently graduated to the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, where he finished fifth in the standings, earning a trio of podiums across the shortened season.
The former New Zealand Toyota 86 champion will be making a move stateside with fellow TRS rival Billy Frazer.
Joining the USF2000 grid places Vodanovich on the Road to Indy programme, with the young Kiwi now eyeing a future racing in the top-tier IndyCar Series.
Currently, there are two New Zealanders racing in IndyCar; and one of them – six-time series champion Scott Dixon – played a crucial role in getting Vodanovich over to the USA.
“Todd Pelham, one of my mentors, is good friends with Scott Dixon,” Vodanovich said.
“Scott and Todd have been watching my results, and Scott said ‘you need to get him over to the United States.”
Vodanovich says he is hoping to take the opportunity to further grow as a racing driver.
“It is a huge opportunity for me to learn and really progress with my career. I have still got a lot to learn, and I am really looking forward to what Jay and the rest of the team have for me.”
One of New Zealand’s greatest single-seater racers, Ken Smith, expects Vodanovich to reach IndyCar.
“I expect Peter to get right to the top,” Smith said.
“When I first saw him early in his young life, he was always very good. He has good car control and is very smooth – typical of a Dixon or a [Brendon] Hartley.
“Put him in the right car and he will get right to the top. There is no doubt about that.”
Vodanovich’s rapid progression highlights an intriguing aspect of the future of motorsport. The 20-year-old first got into racing through sim-racing, working his way onto the domestic scene and is now due to take on the world.
“It is unreal to believe that in just four years I have gone from playing video games to racing in America,” Vodanovich added.
“It is going to be awesome.”
The first round of the USF2000 series will be at Barber Motorsport Park over April 17-18.