Event Preview: NOLA SpeedTour with FR Americas & Ligier JS F4 Series

Track Facts: 
Circuit: NOLA Motorsports Park
Length: 2.75 miles / 16-turn road course
Race Direction: Clockwise

Ligier JS F4 Series
Practices:                      Friday, April 12 at 9:30 a.m. and 2:10 p.m. CT
Qualifying:                     Saturday, April 13 at 8:00 a.m. CT
Feature Race 1:             Saturday, April 13 at 11:25 a.m. CT
Feature Race 2:             Saturday, April 13 at 5:05 p.m. CT
Feature Race 3:             Sunday, April 14 at 10:20 a.m. CT

FR Americas Championship 
Practices:                      Friday, April 12 at 11:10 a.m. and 4:10 p.m. CT
Qualifying:                     Saturday, April 13 at 9:20 a.m. CT
Feature Race 1:             Saturday, April 13 at 3:15 p.m. CT
Feature Race 2:             Sunday, April 14 at 8:00 a.m. CT
Feature Race 3:             Sunday, April 14 at 2:00 p.m. CT

NOLA SpeedTour

FR Americas and Ligier JS F4 Open 2024 Campaigns at NOLA 
Formula Regional Americas Championship (FR Americas) and Ligier JS F4 Series (Ligier JS F4) will open their 2024 seasons this weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La. The two series will join the Trans Am Series and Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) for an action-packed weekend at the NOLA SpeedTour. Fans will have ample opportunity to meet drivers and collect autographs with pre-race fan walks and autograph sessions planned throughout the weekend. A variety of food will be available at the food truck corral, and fans can enjoy yard games, wander through the Hagerty Cars & Caffeine car show and relax in the Beer Garden. NOLA’s karting complex will be open for anyone who wants to try their own hand at racing with NOLA’s arrive-and-drive go-karts. Tickets for the NOLA SpeedTour are available at SpeedTour.net/NOLA. Kids ages 12 and under, as well as active-duty military, police and fire with a valid military or work ID, are admitted free.

Meet the Drivers of FR Americas and Ligier JS F4
Fans will have an opportunity to meet and collect autographs from the FR Americas and Ligier JS F4 drivers at NOLA Motorsports Park this weekend. Drivers from both series will be participating in an autograph session on the second floor of the Events Center at 1:45 p.m. CT. Join us and receive a complimentary limited-edition series poster.

Key Partners Return
Ligier Automotive and Hankook Motorsports return as key partners for the 2024 season. Ligier retains its status as the official chassis manufacturer, with the JS F3 as the exclusive chassis for FR Americas and the Ligier JS F4 Series developed around the use of the JS F4 chassis. Hankook Motorsports continues as the official tire of FR Americas and Ligier JS F4, with both series using specifically-designed tires.

Welcome Mountune
Mountune USA joins the Parella Motorsports Holdings (PMH) family in 2024 with the MK20J and MK20R power plants based on the Honda K20C1 engines developed and engineered by Mountune. Serving as the official engine partner for FR Americas and Ligier JS F4, Mountune’s reputation is built on high-performance, race-winning engines. Backed by a team of experienced engineers and engine builders, Mountune will provide teams with required replacement parts and engine service items, while enhancing engine reliability and providing world-class customer service. 

Stream This Weekend’s Races
Saturday and Sunday’s races from the NOLA SpeedTour will be streamed free on YouTube! Enjoy live coverage of all FR Americas and Ligier JS F4 feature races at YouTube.com/SpeedTourTV.

Ligier JS F4 Series

Introducing the Ligier JS F4 Series
With the new Ligier JS F422 debuting when F4 U.S. kicks off its season at Road America in May, the first generation Ligier JS F4 needed a new race series to call home—leading to the formation of the Ligier JS F4 Series. Drivers competing in Ligier JS F4 will be racing for a scholarship, as this year’s champion will be awarded the use of a Ligier JS F422 chassis and engine from Ligier, two sets of tires per event from Hankook, and race entry fees from PMH to compete in the 2025 F4 U.S. Championship season. With the prize valued at $133,600, finding success in each of the series’ five rounds will be pivotal.

New Faces Flock to Ligier JS F4
Serving as the first step on PMH’s open-wheel ladder, a flock of new drivers will join the Ligier JS F4 grid at NOLA Motorsports Park:

  • Harbir Dass (No. 49 Berg DMG Racing Ligier JS F4)
  • Jacob Lawter (No. 72 Save22 Ligier JS F4)
  • Brad Majman (No. 95 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4)
  • Teddy Musella (No. 25 Scuderia Buell Ligier JS F4)
  • Demitri Nolan (No. 5 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4)
  • Jake Pollack (No. 1 JENSEN Ligier JS F4)
  • Drew Szuch (No. 28 Szuch Racing Ligier JS F4)
  • Parker Wallin (No. 2 JENSEN Ligier JS F4)

Drivers Back On The Grid
Two 2023 full-time drivers are returning to the cockpit in a Ligier JS F4:

  • Kekai Hauanio (No. 29 N.E.Where Transportation / New’T Racing Ligier JS F4)
  • Bacon Zelenka (No. 45 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4)

Part-time competitors from last season returning to the grid at NOLA, include:

  • Pablo Benites Jr. (No. 44 Scuderia Buell Ligier JS F4)
  • Christopher Parrish (No. 83 Save22 Ligier JS F4)
  • Daniel Quimby (No. 24 Cruise America/MIR Raceline/FIJI Airways/GalvanizeIns Ligier JS F4)

Cáceres Looks to Progress Her Formula Racing Career
Maite Cáceres (No. 6 Abitab/Supermatch Ligier JS F4) returns to the cockpit of a Ligier JS F4 car with the Ligier JS F4 Series. The Uruguay native balanced her college coursework with competing full-time in F4 U.S. in 2022, before spending last season traveling the world while racing in F1 Academy. Over the winter, she returned to the driver’s seat to compete in Formula FARA, where she earned two podium finishes.

Trio of PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship Recipients Take on NOLA
Maite Cáceres will join fellow PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship recipients, Harbir Dass and Christopher Parrishon the Ligier JS F4 grid when the lights go out at NOLA. The trio are just a few of the 14 drivers who have received support through the PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship this season. With benefits such as free entry fees or test days, the program aligns recipients with a team of executives and mentors to assist them in their career development with educational opportunities and training, as well as increasing their exposure through media and fan engagement events. Cáceres returns to the Ligier JS F4 grid after racing in F1 Academy last season, while Parrish returns for a second season after competing in F4 U.S. last year. New to Ligier JS F4, Dass joined SVRA at Road Atlanta last month to shake off the cobwebs and gain some valuable seat time in his Ligier JS F4 machine.

Bacon Zelenka Looks to Continue Improving
Named the “Most Improved Driver” and recipient of last year’s Catherine Crawford Award, Bacon Zelenka returns to the cockpit of his Ligier JS F4 racecar to race in the Ligier JS F4 Series this season. A determined young driver, Zelenka balances working full time at his new job in the shop at Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport, with part-time work and odd jobs like landscaping and driver coaching, as well as his studies in aeronautics, where he is embarking on his third year at Purdue University. To keep his racing skills sharp, Zelenka spends a lot of time on the simulator, consistently competing in some of the highest races on iRacing.

FR Americas Championship Powered by Honda

FR Americas Alums Return for Another Year
A third of the drivers set to compete at NOLA this weekend return to the series after a competitive 2023 campaign. Drivers are battling for the championship title and a variety of awards and prizes, including a $25,000 cash scholarship from PMH. Those returning include:

  • Hayden Bowlsbey (No. 22 Save22 Ligier JS F3)
  • Nicole Havrda (No. 6 Valley Kitchens Ltd/Colonial Countertops Ltd Ligier JS F3)
  • Kevin Janzen (No. 24 US Power Group/Data Center Solutions Ligier JS F3)
  • Cole Kleck (No. 11 Kleck Racing / International Mechanical Ligier JS F3)
  • Ryan Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3)

F4 U.S. Alums Step Up to FR Americas
Several F4 U.S. alums are stepping up to FR Americas this season, including 2023 F4 U.S. champion Patrick Woods-Toth (No. 27 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3), who is joining the championship after earning a scholarship for the 2024 season. Woods-Toth is one of nine drivers to move up to FR Americas after competing in one or more F4 U.S. races over the past few seasons.

  • Nicolas Ambiado (No. 55 TLink / Allegro Ligier JS F3)
  • Alex Benavitz (No. 14 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3)
  • Jett Bowling (No. 02 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3)
  • Justin Garat (No. 17 Speed Factory Ligier JS F3)
  • James Lawley (No. 77 Kartbahn Racing Ligier JS F3)
  • Landan Matriano Lim (No. 73 739Racing Ligier JS F3)
  • Titus Sherlock (No. 31 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3)
  • Ricco Shlaimoun (No. 25 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3)
  • Patrick Woods-Toth (No. 27 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3)

New Faces Join the Championship
Anthony Autiello (No. 07 A Autiello Construction Co. Ligier JS F3) joins the FR Americas grid with Momentum Motorsports this season. The Providence, R.I. native has been racing formula cars since 2010. With experience in SCCA and the Monticello Motor Club Member Series, he will be going head-to-head against Kevin Janzen in a battle for the Masters Championship.

Local Talent Racing at Home with Bowlsbey and Matriano Lim
Two drivers in this weekend’s field call Louisiana home: 

Hayden Bowlsbey caught the motorsports bug while racing a rental kart at NOLA Motorsports Park nine years ago. Two years of competing in rental karts led Bowlsbey to WKA and eventually F4 cars with Formula Race Promotions. By 2019, the Folsom, La. Native joined F4 U.S., and in 2022, he made his FR Americas debut at NOLA Motorsports Park. With two top-10 finishes at the track, Bowlsbey will once again take on NOLA Motorsports Park with his family-owned IGY6 Motorsports. 

Landan Matriano Lim hails from Shreveport and graduated from LSU Shreveport just last year with a double major in marketing and management. Now 100% focused on racing, Matriano Lim will make his first FR Americas start at NOLA Motorsports Park with his hometown fanbase in tow. However, this weekend won’t be the first time he sees the circuit—in fact, his racing career started at NOLA Motorsports Park in 2021 when he competed in his very first wheel-to-wheel race with National Auto Sports Association (NASA). The 22-year-old raced in F4 U.S. at NOLA last year, improving 23 positions throughout the course of the weekend’s three races.

PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship Recipients Race at NOLA
Landan Matriano Lim, Nicole Havrda and Justin Garat are all racing this season with help from the PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship. Aimed at creating a more diverse field, the PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship empowers drivers from a variety of backgrounds to participate in PMH-owned race series. Havrda returns to FR Americas after joining the series mid-way through 2023, while Matriano Lim steps up to FR Americas for the first time this season. Garat made limited starts in F4 U.S. last year, before joining SVRA to get acquainted with the Ligier JS F3 chassis and prepare for this year’s championship.

Shehan Looks to Race for a Championship
Ryan Shehan came out of the gate strong at NOLA Motorsports Park last season with two victories during the series’ opening three races. With two wins and a second-place result during the 2023 NOLA SpeedTour, Shehan set off on a streak of nine-consecutive podium finishes.