Laguna Beach, California (September 19, 2011) — After participating in a recent Formula 3 Italia Collective Test Session with the PREMA Powerteam at the Vallelunga Circuit, in Italy, American Michael Lewis turned the experience he gained from that test to a podium finish this weekend at the same race track.
Michael and the PREMA Powerteam arrived at Vallelunga on Friday, September 16, for Rounds 11 and 12 of the Formula 3 Italia Championship with high expectations. In the previous week’s team collective test session at Vallelunga, Michael tested well and finished the single day session in P-2.
“The PREMA Powerteam gave me a good car for the test and I felt confident for the upcoming race weekend that we could score some points toward the championship,” said Michael Lewis.
On Friday the Formula 3 Italia cars took to the Vallelunga track for the first of two free practice sessions. Michael turned consistent lap times in the first practice session and his fastest time was 1:31.198 that put his P-2 just behind Edoardo Liberati. The second free practice session took place early on Saturday morning and again Michael was among the fastest during the entire session. Michael’s best lap time at the conclusion of free practice was 1:31.098, which was just shy of Sergio Campana’s time of 1:30.750.
Qualifying for the Formula 3 Italia series took place mid-day on Saturday, September 17, in the hot sun at the Vallelunga
Circuit. On the first set of tires, Michael was a strong P-2 in the qualifying order. After the second set of tires were placed on Michael’s car, he was unable to improve his time and ended up qualifying P-3 with a time of 1:30.374.
“My goal was to do everything possible to qualify in the front of the grid for the Saturday race,” explained Michael. “I was hoping for P-1 but in the end P-3 was acceptable. As always, my engineer Fabio Zilio and my mechanic Marco Sbabo gave me a very good car and I tried hard to get a pole position time but just fell short of what I wanted to accomplish.”
The first of the two Formula 3 Italia race events at Vallelunga took place late Saturday afternoon. Michael was positioned in 3rd starting position on the grid for Round 11. Michael made a clean start and managed to work his way through heavy traffic in the first turn and at the end of the first lap was in 3rd place. Michael maintained the pace of the leaders and after the 30-minute race he crossed the finish line in 3rd position to claim his 5th podium finish of the season.
“Our team worked diligently as we prepared for Vallelunga so I could have a strong finish in the first race, which I was able to do,” said Michael. “It feels good to get back on the podium and represent my sponsors as our team gained valuable points for the championship.”
Round 12 of the Formula 3 Italia Series took place early on Sunday morning at the Vallelunga Circuit. Because of the starting grid invert, Michael began the second race in 5th position. When the red lights went out to start the race, Michael made a strong launch and came out of the first-turn scramble in 5th position. The first six cars were in line for the first few laps but about halfway through the race Michael was passed by Maxime Jousse. At the end of the 30-minute race Michael crossed the finish line in 6th.
“We had a decent weekend here at Vallelunga and I was able to earn valuable points toward the Championship,” said Michael. “The Championship is close and I know my PREMA Powerteam will continue to give me a fast car so it is my responsibility to work hard and stay focused. I am looking forward to testing this Wednesday at Mugello and then racing there in two weeks.”
Angelo Rosin, Team Principal of the PREMA Powerteam, said, “I’m satisfied with the results scored today by our drivers, who stayed consistently on the podium in the last three rounds. They held on at some pretty difficult circuits like Spa-Francorchamps, Adria and Vallelunga. Again, we proved that our cars can be fast everywhere. Michael managed to rebound after his tough break at Adria and he was back on the podium, which is important for both the rookie and overall rankings.”
Michael is currently tied for 5th in the Formula 3 Italia Championship with 85 points and is only 10 points behind 3rd-place driver and PREMA Powerteam teammate Raffaele Marciello. The top-five drivers are all very close in the Championship points battle with only four races left in the series, so Michael is very much in contention for a strong finish for the overall Formula 3 Italia Championship.
The 2011 Formula 3 Italia Rookie Championship is an even closer race as Michael is currently listed in 4th position with 113 points and he trails Brandon Maisano the current leader by just 13 points.
The next Formula 3 Italia Championship series event will be at the Ferrari-owned Mugello Circuit, October 1 and 2.
Michael’s sponsor lineup for 2011 includes Eibach Springs, K&N Engineering, SKF, GoPro, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, Cometic Gasket, Bell Helmets, Braille Battery, Subè Sports and Calico Coatings.
For more information, please contact:
Meredith Kaplan Burns, MJL Racing +1 949/499-5413
Round 11 Formula 3 Italia Series Results:
1) Sergio Campana (BVM-Target)
2) Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam)
3) Michael Lewis (Prema Powerteam)
4) Kevin Giovesi (Lucidi Motors)
5) Edoardo Liberati (Team Ghinzani)
6) Brandon Maisano (BVM-Target)
7) Victor Guerin (Lucidi Motors)
8) Andrea Roda (Prema Powerteam)
9) Federico Vecchi (LineRace-CO2 Motorsport)
10) Eddie Cheever Jr. (Lucidi Motors)
Round 12 Formula 3 Italia Series Results
1) Brandon Maisano (BVM-Target)
2) Facu Regalia (Team Ghinzani)
3) Victor Guerin (Lucidi Motors)
4) Edoardo Liberati (Team Ghinzani)
5) Maxime Jousse (BVM-Target)
6) Michael Lewis (Prema Powerteam)
7) Sergio Campana (BVM-Target)
8) Eddie Cheever Jr. (Lucidi Motors)
9) Kevin Giovesi (Lucidi Motors)
10) Andrea Roda (Prema Powerteam)
Formula 3 Italia Series Championship Points:
1) Sergio Campana (BVM-Target), 111.
2) Brandon Maisano (BVM-Target), 97.
3) Raffaele Marciello(Prema Powerteam), 95.
4) Maxime Jousse (BVM-Target), 91.
5) Michael Lewis (Prema Powerteam), 85.
5) Edoardo Liberati (Team Ghinzani), 85.
7) Kevin Giovesi (Lucidi Motors), 79.
8) Eddie Cheever Jr. (Lucidi Motors) 60.
9) Facu Regalia (Team Ghinzani) 50.
10) Victor Guerin (Lucidi Motors), 47.
Formula 3 Italia Rookie Championship Points
1) Brandon Maisano (BVM-Target), 126.
2) Maxime Jousse (BVM-Target), 119.
3) Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam), 118.
4) Michael Lewis (Prema Powerteam), 113.
5) Eddie Cheever Jr. (Lucidi Motors), 87.
6) Facu Regalia (Team Ghinzani), 82.
7) Victor Guerin (Lucidi Motors), 77.
8) Federico Vecchi (LineRace-CO2 Motorsport), 52.
9) Simone Iaquinta (Downforce Competition – JD Motorsport), 34.
10) Luca-Marco Spiga (GTR Racing), 13.