Herta to Represent U.S. in World Cup

Written by Team USA. Posted in Team USA News

Published on October 19, 1991 with No Comments

Oct 19, 1991
Laguna Seca Raceway, Monterey, Calif. – Bryan Herta, 21, from Los Angeles, Calif., will represent the United States in the 20th annual Formula Ford Festival & World Cup to be held at Brands Hatch Circuit, England, on the weekend of October 25-27.

Herta has been selected as recipient of the 1991 “American to Europe” Scholarship. The venture has been endorsed by a variety of sources, including Ford SVO, Carl A. Haas Automobile Imports, TrueChoice, TWR, Inc., Grand Touring Cars and Valvoline.

Bobby Rahal, who this weekend is chasing his third CART PPG Indy Car World Series title, also has lent his support to the scheme.

“For a young driver to really improve and better himself, he must race in the most competitive arena and against all those people who are chasing the same goals,” says Rahal. “That means he must go to Europe. The fact is that all the best young drivers go to race in Europe at some stage in their careers. It’s the hotbed of motor racing.”

Last year’s Formula Ford Festival & World Cup attracted no less than 192 drivers representing 19 nations. Former Festival winners include Derek Daly, Roberto Moreno and Tommy Byrne (all of whom, incidentally, are racing here at Laguna Seca this weekend), plus Julian Bailey and Johnny Herbert. All subsequently went on to drive in Formula 1 Grand Prix racing.

Herta will drive a factory-supplied Reynard to be overseen by experienced race driver/engineer John Bright under the Team USA/Lanan Racing banner. The car will be powered by a regulation 1600cc Ford engine provided by Portland, Ore.-based tuner Jay Ivey, who also supplied the motive power when current Lotus Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert won the same event in 1985.

Herta, who clinched the IMSA Barber Saab Pro Series title last weekend in Del Mar, is clearly one of the most exciting young prospects in American auto racing. A veteran of seven karting championships, Herta has visited England twice during the past two months in preparation for the race at Brands Hatch.

“I know we face an uphill task,” says Herta. “There are an incredible number of talented and ambitious drivers taking part, but I think we can make a good impression. I have done some testing in England and the Reynard is a very nice car to drive. I’m really looking forward to competing in the Festival and representing my country. It’s a great opportunity to race in England and make contacts for the future.”

Additional background:

The rationale behind the “Young Driver to Europe Scholarship” is to showcase the depth of expertise and commitment of the U.S. motor racing industry, with an emphasis on the fact there are talented young drivers with ambitions of competing on an international level. The unrivaled competitiveness of “the Festival,” which last year attracted 192 drivers representing 19 nations, will provide Herta with an invaluable insight into the European racing scene. The visit also will enable him to make other valuable contacts for the future.

The event itself has a fabled history. Former winners include drivers such as Herbert, Derek Daly, Geoff Lees, Roberto Moreno, Tommy Byrne and Julian Bailey — all of whom subsequently drove in Formula 1 Grand Prix events.

The entrants are divided into eight heat races, with the top 14 finishers in each race progressing through to the next round of competition. In addition to chasing overall victory, selected drivers (a maximum of three from each country) will score points toward the World Cup depending on their finishing positions.

“It’s a real thrill for me to be taking part in the Formula Ford Festival and World Cup,” says Herta. “I have already seen first-hand just how competitive the racing is in Europe; it really is intense. But I’ve already driven the car and feel very comfortable. John Bright is one of the most experienced engineers around, and he really was a great help when we tested in England a couple of weeks ago.

“I think we have a good team, with good equipment, and I’m looking forward to representing the United States to the best of my ability.”

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