Jacob Douglas briefly home for FT50 testing
Photographer Credit: Terry Marshall
By: Benjamin Carrell
August 16, 2022
USF2000 driver Jacob Douglas has returned home to carry on testing in his Toyota FT50 single seater (main photo) before heading back to the US to compete in the final round of the 2022 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship in Portland.
It has been a year of learning for the Christchurch teenage who currently sits 12th on the overall points table with three races left at the Portland International Raceway, 1-4 September 2022.
“I’ve gained a huge understanding of the technical side of the car,” commented Douglas. “It’s been about what it (the car) does and how to fix it which is really good.
“My engineer has been working really hard with me to understand it all and now I understand what the car is doing, how to use over or understeer and how to induce it.
“It’s now given me the confidence to come home and jump into the FT50 and get on the pace much quicker. Not taking days to get up to pace.”
Douglas explains the difference between the 1.8 litre Toyota-powered FT50 and his 2.0 litre Mazda-powered USF2000 single seater. “While the USF2000 may be quicker in a straight line, the FT50 has more down-force (aerodynamics) so it is faster in the corners. Car wise the FT50 is a step up, not too dissimilar to an Indy Pro 2000 car which is the next level up from USF2000.”
The 16-year-old multi-kartsport champion only made the switch to car racing two years ago competing in Formula Ford in New Zealand. With his sights set on the US, Douglas made the move there almost 12 months ago to start testing with Exclusive Autosport with the aim to compete in the 2022 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
“The team is really good and I get along well with them all and have enjoyed working with them. They are really professional and supportive and I have learnt heaps form them this year.”
A bonus for Douglas has been having a fellow Kiwi driver as team mate. Billy Frazer is in his second season of USF2000 so has both on and off track experience of racing in the US.
“Billy is someone that I can relate to,” said Douglas. “He is definitely competitive but really helpful and I have been able to ask him a lot from his previous experience. It’s been great having another Kiwi in the team”
Jacob Douglas – Photo: Euan Cameron Photography
With six-weeks between the last round in Toronto, Canada, and the final in Portland, Douglas has taken the opportunity to return home, take in some testing and compete in a local club day at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch.
“I think the test days in the FT50 have been really beneficial. The USF2000 car is quicker in a straight line while the FT 50 has more down force. It’s a step up car wise so it is good to learn the next level as it is similar to Indy Pro.
“I’m confident that when I head back to the US, I will have gained more confidence from the FT50. I’m really looking forward to Portland as it is fast with some long straights so great for overtaking. Most of the corners are also high speed. It should be challenging but the FT50 testing has given me more confidence.
“The last round in Toronto has been the best weekend so far where I qualified P4 and P7 then got two top seven results.
“I think we had a bit left in the tank so heading back to Portland I want to finish off where we should have been.”
Jacob Douglas testing the FT50 at Ruapuna, Christchurch – Photo: Euan Cameron