By: Ashley McCubbin
After placing second in the FRP F1600 Series points, Dylan Christie will continue progressing up the open-wheel ranks as he competes for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship with Turn 3 Motorsport.
The 17-year-old recently shared his expectations and more with POPULAR SPEED.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts entering the season?
DYLAN CHRISTIE: I am very excited. I’m really looking forward to racing in the USF2000 Championship. It’s a big step-up, but I also know that will be best for my development in going for a big championship and learning and improving with each race weekend. I also have a lot of confidence in the team that I am with – Turn 3. There are a great team with a lot of experience around me so I can put my best effort for the championship and improve with each race weekend so it’ll be a big success.
ASHLEY: Why did you choose the Road to Indy and USF2000 to be the step of your racing career?
DYLAN: Well, what I really like about Road to Indy is how they’re all the different steps to that and you have the opportunity to get good at a championship and if you put forth the effort in, there’s a step there to move up. Being that I know I can put in the effort to do well each race weekend, I know if I succeed there’s a step higher I can go and if I do good in that, there’s even a step higher. That’s what I like about it, and then through that process of getting a faster car progressively, you get the proper way of learning cars and I think that’s a very nice to have.
ASHLEY: What are your goals for this season?
DYLAN: So what I’d really like to get out of the season most of all is just improvement on myself as a driver. It’s a lot of competition, but through my career I’ve been able to adapt to more experienced field and I think with that if I am able to put in the work, I can do well. I’d really like to just improve with each race weekend and know that I left the season a better driver than I started.
ASHLEY: We’ve seen the schedule released. What track are you most excited to get to?
DYLAN: I’m most of all excited for the street circuits. St. Petersburg looks a lot of fun, and what I really like about the street circuits is the fact that you have to really pay attention to what you’re doing and there’s not much room for error; there’s no grass to run off into. So you have to be really on your game and especially with limited track time, you have to use all that track time so once you get in the car, you have the most knowledge and preparation to lead to success. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most about the street circuits.
ASHLEY: So how did you get started in racing?
DYLAN: I started when I was 13, racing in go-karts, and my home track was Englishtown Raceway Park. For me, that’s track is really special because it’s a parking circuit and I think it was really special for me to start there as I find it more difficult than a typical circuit, between changing grip levels and all kinds of difficult corners. So it means that I had something more difficult, so when I went to a normal course, it would feel easier than what I was practicing.
I spent a year racing at a local level, and then spent two years at Mike Doty Racing doing some national go-karting and I had a lot of success and improved a lot, which made me really happy. Then last year I ran with Team Pelfrey in the F1600 Championship, where I finished second. I was very happy to be able to the car so well. Team Pelfrey helped a lot with driver development and improvement for me and being able to jump to a higher level and improve, and then being able to be good enough to jump up to a higher level.
ASHLEY: Speaking of F1600, what was the biggest thing that you learned racing there that will beneficial as you continue the climb up the ranks?
DYLAN: So two things struck me as being the most important. One is the race craft that you learn – drafting and pack racing, and just how F1600 goes. I think being able to learn that race craft will be beneficial wherever I go, as well as the process of going through a race weekend in cars. Being able to do laps and come off track and look at data, look at video and being able to go back out knowing how you’re going to improve.
ASHLEY: Who would you call your racing hero?
DYLAN: I’m not entirely sure I have one specific hero. I try to follow as many people in racing as I can and try to learn through stories, and all that comes from each people I meet and hear about. I know that’s kind of non-answer, but I don’t like to think there’s one driver that I put above all. I think each racing driver has something to learn from in their stories to help me through my career.
ASHLEY: I know you’re starting the Road to Indy, but what would it mean one day to race in the IndyCar Series?
DYLAN: It’d be an amazing opportunity. There’s nothing like racing for me. It’s something that I’d love to do seven days – if I could, I would. As long as I keep putting in the effort and keep improving myself, I know the results and success will come. So it’d be an incredible experience and it’s something I’m hopeful as I put the work in on the Road to Indy.