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December 05, 2011 News
Series News: ECKC at Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine

Robichon gave IndyCar top marks for its first Scouting Combine (Photo: Al Steinberg)
Robichon gave IndyCar top marks for its first Scouting Combine
(Photo: Al Steinberg)

Zach Robichon was back behind the wheel representing the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship a week ago as he was one of ten drivers competing in the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine. On hand at Andersen RacePark in Palmetto, Florida, and fresh from winning the Hinchtown.com Canadian Karting Shootout, the SRA/Birel DD2 star was once again thrilled to be in an open-wheel formula car and absorb everything industry veterans had to offer.

“It was a great experience, about so much more than just getting to drive the cars,” Robichon said upon his return to home and the University of Ottawa. “The amount I learned in the marketing and media side of the sport was really great. The USF2000 car was really fun to drive, and even though the track we were at was a kart track you were still able to feel the downforce!”

After an orientation day Sunday, the ten participants were on track Monday for practice and Tuesday participated in a five-lap qualifying session and a ten-lap race simulation. Under the watchful eyes of Firestone Indy Lights’ driver Anders Krohn, motorsports writer and commentator Jeremy Shaw, Director of Mazda Motorsports John Doonan and Director of Business Development for Firestone Indy Lights Tony George Jr., the ten drivers were vying for the chance to race the St. Petersburg rounds of the 2012 USF2000 Championship this March.

“It’s quite a weird feeling when you feel the car slide, and then when you decide to take it faster it actually makes it easier!” Robichon said of his time on track with wings and slicks. “Adapting to this I struggled a bit and I was never really able to get into a rhythm. I never felt comfortable really pushing the limits of the car, so I mostly concentrated on being smooth and hitting my marks. Since we only had a total of 30 laps, I never really pushed for speed, but I know with more time I would have been able to go faster.”

While the Hinchtown.com Canadian Karting Shootout selected individual drivers from across Canada, the Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine had each of its ten representatives selected by Championships across North America. As the ECKC representative, Robichon was joined by drivers from the World Karting Association, International Karting Federation, Florida Karting Championship Series, Cal State Karting Series, SKUSA Central States Challenge and the TaG World Championship, among others.

“It’s been great to get the chance to try all these new things during the ‘off-season’ from karting,” Robichon said. “I wasn’t expecting any of these opportunities, so it’s been wonderful to get the chance to learn at these shootouts and gain a lot of experience. I just can’t thank everyone involved enough.”

The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship is the premiere kart racing championship in Canada, and one of the most competitive Rotax Max Challenge Series in the world. Twelve of its drivers competed at the most recent Grand Finals, including Rotax Max Challenge DD2 World Champion Pier-Luc Ouellette. Drivers from the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship are also reigning Florida Winter Tour Champions, Gatorz Challenge of the Americas Champions, Pan American Rotax Max Challenge Champions and Canadian National Champions. The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship begins each May and concludes in July. Contested in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, a championship season contests six races spread over four weekends. For more information, please visit http://www.eckc.ca
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