Paralyzed Racer Michael Johnson Joins JDC MotorSports for 2012 USF2000 Championship Campaign
February 6th, 2012
from February 02, 2012 article by @ usf2000.com
Michigan native to pilot specially-equipped hand control car in rookie title challenge
MINNEAPOLIS, MN. – Junior formula car standout JDC MotorSports is excited to announce that paralyzed racer Michael Johnson will be part of its multi-car title challenge in the 2012 edition of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. The 19 year-old will make history this coming season, as he becomes the first paralyzed driver to compete in the Mazda Road to Indy program, piloting a specially-equipped hand control car.
For JDC MotorSports and Johnson, the 2012 USF2000 Championship season marks the latest step in a partnership that started in the summer of 2011. With the ultimate goal of not only competing, but fighting for top honors in the renowned driver development series, the Michigan native will get behind the wheel of a Mazda-powered Van Diemen that has been converted to hand controls by JDC MotorSports with input from INDYCAR and USF2000 technical staff and officials. The Skip Barber Racing front-runner, will partner fellow series rookies Neil Alberico, Scott Hargrove, and Zac Silver under the JDC awning, having already accumulated more than nine full test days in the specially-equipped car.
“I cannot even tell you how excited the entire team is to add Michael to our 2012 roster,” stated JDC MotorSports team principal John Church. “Obviously this is a unique program, and during testing Michael has shown us that he will be up to the task and be competitive in our run for the championship in 2012.”
“I’m so psyched to be competing in the USF2000 Championship with John Church and JDC MotorSports!” commented Johnson. “My journey to compete in open-wheel racing has required unique attention, and I want to thank all the people who supported the efforts to get us on the Mazda Road to Indy. INDYCAR and the USF2000 series have been supportive in working with us to make this happen. Many thanks to John and the entire JDC Motorsports team who made a miracle happen with the preparation of the car, and when we go racing next week in the Winterfest it will be a dream come true. I also want to thank my family, especially my mom, dad, and my grandfather, as well as my manager Matthias Czabok, PR person Maria Jannace, and driver coach Grant Maiman. They all worked so hard to put this all together.”
Johnson was an extremely successful amateur motorcycle racer, winning 14 national championships by the age of 12. On August 13, 2005, he was involved in a dirt track racing accident, which left him paralyzed from the mid chest down. After a long road to recovery of nearly two years, he received the green light from his doctors to again participate in physical activities. In 2007, Johnson returned to motorsports competition, racing karts which were modified to be driven with hand controls. Not surprisingly, it was not long until Johnson started winning again, capturing the Junior SuperCan class championship, earning Driver of the Year honors. Continuing his winning ways in the Great Lakes Pro Series – scoring six victories in the Rotax class – the teenager elected to make the transition to car competition in 2009. Johnson, piloting a car modified to be driven with hand controls, made his debut in the Skip Barber Racing series. After running a partial schedule in 2010, the talented racer ran the entire Skip Barber Summer Series in 2011, scoring three wins and seven podium finishes en route to third place in the title fight.
JDC MotorSports and Johnson will officially commence their 2012 season on February 6-7, when the No. 54 Universal Coating/Coloplast/FlatOutNation.com/Red Line Oil/JDC MotorSports entry takes to Sebring International Raceway for the opening tripleheader of the Cooper Tires Winterfest. The chase for Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda supremacy gets underway on March 16-17, with Rounds One and Two at Sebring as part of the 60th Anniversary Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
JDC MotorSports races with associate sponsorship from www.RedLineOil.com.
Additional information on JDC MotorSports can be obtained from the team’s website @ www.jdcmotorsports.com For direct contact, please contact John Church @ 952-233-3075.
Learn more about Michael Johnson at www.michaeljohnsonracing.com.
About JDC MotorSports:
Involved in formula car racing since its inception in 1994, JDC MotorSports has established itself as one of the leading junior open-wheel teams in North America. Initially making its mark in the F2000 class of club racing competition, JDC MotorSports was soon a team worth watching in the pro ranks. Competing in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, the team not only won races, but also helped develop multiple young drivers. In 2005, JDC MotorSports expanded its efforts, entering the Star Mazda Championship. Quickly becoming one of the top teams in the series, JDC captured both the driver and team titles in 2007, as well as Rookie of the Year honors, with Dane Cameron scoring a series-high three wins. In 2008, JDC MotorSports was the runner-up in the Star Mazda Championship and finished fourth in its inaugural season of F2000 Championship Series competition. The Minnesota-based team won the Star Mazda Championship title with Rookie of the Year Adam Christodoulou, and the F2000 Championship Series title with Chris Miller in 2009. The following year, JDC continued its winning ways, earning the Rookie of the Year award in the Star Mazda Championship with Connor De Phillippi, and scoring a non-points win in the USF2000 National Championship. In 2011, the Minneapolis-based squad captured its third Star Mazda Championship title with Tristan Vautier, scored a win in the USF2000 National Championship, and made its Prototype Lites Championship debut, earning five podium finishes. JDC MotorSports will contest the Star Mazda Championship, USF2000 National Championship and Prototype Lites Championship in 2012.