Sports

Jurca racing his way to a Formula 1 seat

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

David Jurca is living life in the fast lane following his graduation from Federal Way High School last June — literally.

Jurca is quickly becoming a rising star in the open-wheel auto racing business. The 18-year-old has been driving go karts for years and is now moving into the Formula 1 world, the top notch of auto racing in Europe.

“I’ve had a lot of things going on in my racing career,” Jurca said.

Jurca’s latest escapade in racing might be the big break he has been waiting for.

The teenager is one of six United States finalists in the Red Bull Driver Search, which is a program that aims to discover and support highly-talented young drivers already in racing. Oct. 12, Jurca and the other finalists will travel to a Formula 1 track in Portugal where a winner will be selected, earning a seat on the Red Bull Junior Team for the 2004 season in Europe. Between two and four drivers will be selected from the group of six to compete in Europe.

Danny Sullivan, head of the program and a former winner of the Indianapolis 500, led a panel of judges made up of several acclaimed European racing experts.

“Judging an event of this nature was very tough” Sullivan said. “There were so many factors to take into consideration — levels of experience, age, amount of time on this track, progress in each session, innate racing talent and how they approached the job at hand. We had to determine if they have the desire in their hearts to succeed with the Red Bull Junior Team in Europe and ultimately fill the void of American presence at the pinnacle of world motorsport — Formula 1.”

Jurca made the final six following two days of intense testing Sept. 3-5 in Sebring, Fla. with 24 other young drivers.

The Red Bull Driver Search was set up to find the “diamond in the rough,” who lacks the knowledge and contacts needed to embark on a career in racing. The long-term goal of the search is to have a steady group of four to six American drivers racing in Europe, groomed to break into Formula 1 and compete for the world championship, according to a press release.

While in Portugal for the finals, Jurca will be judged in a Formula 3 race car, which doesn’t have the horsepower of the bigger Formula 1 cars.

Jurca has been successful racing go karts, taking first place in various regional and national events since 1998. In 2000, he started racing with Vancouver B.C.-based Italian Motors.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com.

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