Canadian rookie adds two prestigious wins to open wheel formula car resume
MONTREAL, QC (June 10, 2018) – North Vancouver, British Columbia’s Kellen Ritter traveled to Quebec on the June 8-10 weekend for the much-anticipated second round of the competitive F1600 Canada series, which was run in support of the Canadian Grand Prix F1 weekend at the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Racing with the highly-rated Exclusive Autosport team, the 17-year-old rookie added two more wins to his growing formula car resume, sweeping the weekend at the biggest race of the year. The second race of the weekend was run on the Sunday morning before the Grand Prix, in front of the F1 paddock and all the enthusiastic spectators as they were arriving at the venue for the day. Winning in Montreal, and standing on the Formula One podium to receive the winner’s trophy, is the highlight of any young driver’s career.
“The weekend was incredible, from qualifying second to winning both races in spectacular fashion,” exclaimed Ritter. “I’m pumped, more than ever. This was a great weekend for me and my sponsors: CMSI, Bosa Foods, Molecule, Elevate Fitness, Edgar Development, Walter Wolf Racing and Atomica Karts. Without them, this weekend wouldn’t have been possible.”
Ritter prepared for the important weekend by studying the team’s on-board video from last year, driving the track on a computer simulator and putting in the hours in the gym to ensure his physical readiness. The effort paid off as he qualified second in a field of 30-plus drivers in his first trip to the challenging venue. The qualifying performance put him on the outside of the front row for the start of the first of two 30-minute timed races.
In the opening race, Kellen launched well off the rolling start and slotted into second coming out of the initial complex of corners. Ritter quickly attacked for the lead and proceeded to build a small cushion, but a minor miscue opened the door for his competition and he fell back to P2. With just two laps remaining, Ritter re-took the top spot from rival Jake Craig and then defended on an aggressive last lap overtaking attempt, surviving side-by-side contact coming through the final chicane to emerge unscathed to score the important victory.
Still energized by his Saturday win, Kellen started on the pole for Race 2 on Sunday morning. He lost a couple of positions, falling back to fourth, in the opening corners. Ritter settled in over the first two laps before the yellow flag was displayed when a pair of front-running drivers in the lead group got together on the front straight. After an extended safety car period, the race resumed with just two laps to go, and Ritter was quickly on the move as he went on the attack. Kellen made a successful move for the lead and went on to win the race by a scant 0.070 seconds, completing the sweep of the weekend.
“I can’t say enough about Kellen’s performance this past weekend,” offered Michael Duncalfe, Exclusive Autosport team owner. “He has been training extremely hard at the gym and has been studying video to ensure that he was prepared the moment he arrived at the track. The competition within the F1600 Canada championship is incredibly steep, it shows how talented Kellen really is to qualify his EA Spectrum 015 Honda in P2 (for race 1) and then grab the pole for Race 2 and, ultimately, bring home two victories at the prestigious Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, adding to the team’s incredible history and record at this event (posting 11 wins in 12 race outings). I have no doubt Kellen will continue to be challenging up front and use this momentum to continue to post strong results the remainder of the season.”
Momentum is crucial in racing, and Kellen will aim to harness the positive forward motion of his season as he returns to the seat of his Exclusive Autosport F1600 car this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario during the VARA Vintage Grand Prix event. This will be the second tripleheader event on the Ontario-based Toyo Tires F1600 Championship, following the opening rounds which were held in early May. In the season opener, Ritter scored three straight podium finishes in a consistent outing that helped kick off his 2018 campaign on a high note.
Kellen’s F1600 efforts with Exclusive Autosport would not be possible without the backing of CMSI, Bosa Foods, Molecule, Elevate Fitness, Edgar Development, Walter Wolf Racing and Atomica Karts.
DRIVER RESULTS – KELLEN RITTER – #90 SPECTRUM F1600
Qualifying: 2nd – 1:53.812
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st