Parker Thompson will return for another season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda as part of an all-Canadian effort from first-year entrant Exclusive Autosport.
Thompson, who finished second in the USF2000 driver’s championship in 2016, will return to the team which helped launch his racing career in race cars piloting Exclusive Autosport’s No. 30 Mazda-powered Tatuus US-17.
“It has been a long time coming, signing Parker to a full season program with Exclusive Autosport,” team co-owner Michael Duncalfe continued. “I am especially excited that he will be one of our drivers, a series veteran, leading the EA program in our inaugural season in the USF2000 Championship / MRTI. I have the utmost respect for not only Parker's race craft, but also his work ethic on and off the track. I have never seen a driver work as hard as he does off the track on his racing program.”
Thompson, an 18-year-old from Red Deer, Alberta, last raced for the team in the Formula Tour F1600 series in 2015, sweeping a weekend of racing at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Quebec. Thompson qualified on the pole at the famed Le Circuit Mt. Tremblant the following weekend and that success helps raise expectations for all involved.
"This was easily one of the hardest off seasons I have had in my motorsport career, thus far,” said Thompson, who represented his country in England last Fall as winner of the Team Canada Scholarship. “I honestly didn't know if I was going to get behind the wheel of a race car in 2017, so when the opportunity arose to become a part of the EA organization, I was ecstatic.
“This is a dream team fit for myself, in a number of different ways. I met Michael when I was just 11-years-old racing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at the Western Canadian Karting Championships. It just goes to show you what relationship building can do for your career down the road. Since then, I actually raced for Michael in his decorated FF1600 program, and claimed my first two formula car wins with him. There's not many team owners in the paddock who I have had such a great history and relationship with over the years.”
“I think that is going to make me push even harder to make sure I am doing everything on and off the track possible to pursue a championship for this team in 2017. You could definitely say that I have some unfinished business to take care of on the Mazda Road to Indy in 2017, and I couldn't be prouder to represent EA Autosport while I do it."
Thompson recently tested with EA at Sebring, not far the team’s home base in Palmetto, Florida. The team will be managed by 2015 USF2000 Mechanic of the Year Jay Green and plans to add two more cars for 2017.