Presented by Racemaker Press

"There's a lot of junk out there today. If you want it straight, read Kirby." -- Paul Newman

The Way It Is/ Spencer Pigot shows his talent

by Gordon Kirby
Spencer Pigot is one of America's most promising young open-wheel talents. Pigot won the 2010 Skip Barber National Championship, earning a MazdaSpeed scholarship to compete in last year's Cooper Tires US F2000 Championship. He won three racers, took four poles and finished second in the 2011 F2000 championship before taking last winter's Cooper Tires Winterfest series title in dominant style, winning five of six races. Pigot also won a pair of Team USA Scholarships in 2010 and '11.

This year, Pigot, 18, dueled fiercely with Australian Matthew Brabham for the Cooper Tires US F2000 championship. Spencer won eight of 14 races, scoring twice as many wins as Brabham, but ultimately finishing second in the championship just seven points short of Brabham's tally and plans to compete in next year's Star Mazda Championship.

"Overall, it was a really good year," Pigot observed. "We won over half the races in the championship and I think we really should have won the championship if a couple of things had gone our way. We got taken out by a backmarker at one race and paid a couple of penalties in another."

Spencer's championship hopes took bad knocks at Elkhart Lake and Baltimore. His race at Elkhart was ruined by penalties for blocking and speeding in the pitlane then won the first of two races in Baltimore on Labor Day weekend only to be taken out while lapping a backmarker in Baltimore's second race while running a close second to Brabham.

© Spencer Pigot
"There were a couple of things that didn't quite fall for us," Pigot said. "But overall, I can't be too disappointed with how many races we won and being on the podium so many times. It was a good year, but obviously I would have liked to have had a few more points at the end.

"Matt did an awesome job all season long. He was always there challenging for the wins and I think we're going to have some good battles through the next few years and hopefully all the way on up to IndyCar."

Brabham and Pigot drove this year for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. The team ran a third car for Trent Hindman and also ran Norwegian teen-ager Henrik Furuseth in the national class with Furuseth taking the class title. Cape Motorsports is owned by Dominic and Nicholas Cape and enjoys the support of Grand-Am team owner Wayne Taylor and his sons Ricky and Jordan.

"Every race weekend we had either Ricky or Jordan there helping us with driver coaching," Pigot remarked. "They would go to different corners and see what we were doing. They would take split times and see where we could improve. They played a big part in our success. Ricky was my spotter at the oval in Indianapolis where I won, so it was a real team effort from all the guys at Cape and from the Taylor family as well."

Pigot says his best races this year came in the "Night Before the 500" F2000 race at Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly Indianapolis Raceway Park) in May and the season-closer at Virginia International Raceway. He won the "Night Before the 500" race after a wheel-to-wheel duel with championship rival Brabham and won both races at VIR, starting from pole both times and running away to convincing victories.

"I would say Indianapolis was my best race," Spencer commented. "Matt and I had a really tough battle through the first few laps. I had to push really hard to get by him but I was able to do so. Then I was able to hold him off for a few laps and I was able to pull away and win the race. It was really cool to win in Indy and get my first win on an oval.

"Also the last weekend at VIR. I won both races by a long way, led every session and got every point that I could. So that weekend was right up there with the best of the season."

Pigot started his racing career in karts in 2003 when he was just nine years old.

"I raced karts for six years all around the US and a little bit in Europe as well. I moved up to cars through the Skip Barber program and got a few MazdaSpeed scholarships when I won the Skip Barber National Championship. That's how I got up into US F2000."

© Spencer Pigot
Spencer won three races on his way to the 2010 Skip Barber national title and ran the USF2000 series in 2011 with Andretti Autosport thanks to his MazdaSpeed scholarship.

"It was my first year with wings and slicks and a car with some downforce," Pigot observed. "It took a lot of getting used to, but I finished second in the championship. I won three races and got five pole positions."

For the past season Pigot and his father Barry decided to move to Cape Motorsports because of the team's experience in F2000 and also because the Cape operation is located close to the Pigot family's home in Orlando.

"The Cape guys have a lot of experience in F2000," Spencer noted. "They've been doing it for a long time and they're just the best guys. They know everything about the cars. They know exactly what to change if you have any balance issues.

"They're also only about an hour and a half away from my house. So it was really convenient. I could go down there and spend time at the shop with the guys. It just made more sense to be with them."

A few weeks ago Pigot participated in the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy test sessions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Spencer drove a Team Pelfrey Star Mazda car for the first time and turned the fastest lap in each of four Star Mazda sessions on the big speedway.

"It was a really cool experience," he remarked. "I'd never driven a Star Mazda before, so I was really looking forward to the test. I've been looking forward to that for a few years now.

"The test went really well. The car was great to drive. It's quite a lot different from an F2000 car. The brakes are the biggest thing I noticed and also the gearbox is a lot different. There were a few things I had to get used to, but all the guys at Team Pelfrey really helped me a lot in transitioning from the F2000 car to the Star Mazda and we were fastest in every single session. Hopefully that will help me get some money to do the series next year.

"That was the real reason to do that test. Hopefully I did well and got a lot of publicity for it. It could have turned out the other way. I could have struggled but I went well and it did us a lot of good."

Spencer's dad Barry raced Formula Fords many years ago in his native UK and worked for a few years as the advertising manager for Autocourse, the renowned annual review of Formula One and the international racing season.

© Spencer Pigot
"He was always big into racing," Spencer says about his dad. "He used to race a long time ago and worked in racing for a while. He had the passion and it carried over to me. When I was young I raced dirt bikes and eventually got into go-karts and ever since then I've been racing some type of go-kart or car."

His dad runs a furniture business in Orlando and also helps Spencer in the eternal quest for sponsorship.

"He spends a lot of time running the business, but his other job is trying to find sponsorship for me. This past year we didn't have any Mazda money, like I had for 2010 and 2011, so we had to raise all the money ourselves.

"My dad and I worked hard to find new partners and sponsors. I was fortunate to have Dale Pelfrey from Team Pelfrey help me a lot this year and Doug Mockett, E-merging Technologies and quite a few other people pitched in. We were able to put everything together for this year and now we're hard at work looking forward to 2013."

Spencer's goal is race in next year's Star Mazda series and compete for the championship.

"Hopefully I'll be in Star Mazda. That's the plan. I had a really good first test at Indianapolis a few weeks ago which hopefully will lead to some opportunities within the series in 2013. Obviously, we've got a lot of money to find, so it's going to be down to getting all that together and getting the proper support behind me to do it right."

Anyone out there who's looking to sponsor a highly talented up-and-comer with a big future in the sport would surely do themselves proud by backing Spencer Pigot.

* For coverage of Randy Bernard's departure from IndyCar please go to

Auto Racing ~ Gordon Kirby
Copyright 2012 ~ All Rights Reserved