Kekai Hauanio Wins a Thrilling Race 2 at the NOLA SpeedTour

AVONDALE, La. (April 13, 2024) – With a pass coming to the white flag, Kekai Hauanio (No. 29 N.E.Where Transportation / New’T Racing Ligier JS F4) won a thrilling Race 2 for the Ligier JS F4 Series during the series’ inaugural weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park. Returning to the cockpit of a first-generation Ligier JS F4 racecar for a second season, Hauanio’s victory marks the first of his career, and only his third podium finish in the car. 

Notes of Interest: 

  • The NOLA SpeedTour marks the first race weekend for the Ligier JS F4 Series, a new stepping stone from karts to racecars in the Parella Motorsports Holdings (PMH) open-wheel ladder system. 
  • Kekai Hauanio earned his first-career win in today’s Race 2 at NOLA Motorsports Park. 
  • After winning this morning’s season opener, Teddy Musella finished second, marking his second podium in just two races. 
  • With her third-place result, Maite Cáceres earned her second podium of the day and her career. 

Teddy Musella (No. 25 Scuderia Buell Ligier JS F4) led the field down the starting grid, but it was Hauanio who pulled side by side with Musella heading down the frontstretch and overtook the lead as they swept through Turn 1. From there, the 17-year-old focused on opening a gap and pulled a second-and-a-half ahead of the field as the race neared the halfway point. Meanwhile, fourth-place starter Maite Cáceres (No. 6 Abitab/Supermatch Ligier JS F4) was strategically working through the field. The Uruguay native moved up to third on the opening lap, and into second by the completion of the fourth lap. Keeping her focus forward, Cáceres continued chipping away at the lead, narrowing the gap to less than a second with just over three minutes left on the clock. She cut another half-second by the next time they passed the start/finish line and pulled to the outside of Hauanio as she entered Turn 1. Set with the preferred line as they raced through Turn 2, Cáceres completed the pass and pulled away with the lead. Later that same lap, as they raced toward the white flag, Cáceres spun in Turn 15 and Hauanio slipped past to regain the lead. From there, it was clear sailing to the checkered flag for Hauanio. 

Musella was fourth with less than two minutes left on the clock, but was able to make his way around Bacon Zelenka(No. 45 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) to overtake third and slid past Cáceres as she collected herself and headed to the white flag. As the checkered flag waved, it was Hauanio, followed by Musella and Cáceres rounding out the top three. 

     READ MORE:  Race 2 Official Results

“The first race this morning was not to our liking, but we got it done in the second one today,” Hauanio recapped. “[Maite] caught up to me, but we’re going to make some setup changes because it was a little off. We’ll come back tomorrow and hopefully get the win. I have to thank my grandpa for supporting me and Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport for giving me this amazing car.”

Ligier JS F4 wraps up their race weekend tomorrow with Race 3 at the NOLA SpeedTour at 10:20 a.m. CT. Tickets for the day are available on Kids ages 12 and under, as well as active-duty military, police and fire with a valid military or work ID, are admitted free. 

All feature races will be available to stream on the SpeedTourTV YouTube page. Live timing and scoring can be accessed on the Race Monitor app, and additional news and updates from the season finale weekend will be posted on the series’ FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Photos by Gavin Baker Photography