Northern Irish Formula Ford 1600 champion Matt Round-Garrido has secured a USF2000 seat this year with Jay Howard Driver Development, despite missing out on the Road to Indy Shootout scholarship.
The 18-year-old finished third in the BRSCC National FF1600 championship last season, and has two single-circuit titles to his name in the category. His Northern Irish triumph earned him a ticket to the RTI Shootout and the attention of Jay Howard.
Before the Shootout took place, Round-Garrido was drafted in last-minute to test for the team at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a call he received while driver coaching at a kart track. He impressed, despite having to fit his 6’2″ frame into another driver’s seat.
A second test at NOLA Motorsports Park essentially sealed his seat at the team, having also tested in a BRDC British Formula 3 car during the off-season.
“After new year, I had a few very tempting offerers,” Round-Garrido told Formula Scout.
“But overall it was clear that the offer to come to the States [with JHDD] was going to be the best for my career long-term, so from that perspective it was an easy decision.”
The eponymous team of 2006 Indy Lights champion Howard has competed in United States Formula 4 since 2017, and will be new to USF2000 this year. It has already signed Christians Bagle and Rasmussen for its USF2000 campaign.
“I?m expecting to win this season,” continued Round-Garrido.
“I?ve been around a number of teams and even worked for a couple on the mechanical/engineering side of things. So when I see the winning mentality that the boys here at JHDD have I can?t think of a reason as to why we won?t have the best car this season.
“The truth is it?s going to be down to me to bring home the goods.”
Returning to USF2000 is Bruna Tomaselli, switching to Pabst Racing after competing with Team Pelfrey last year.
The 21-year-old Brazilian finished 16th in the 2018 standings, taking just one top 10 finish. In 2016 she did a half-season in the championship, entering the opening round in the National class.
?I?m very excited for this season,? Tomaselli said.
?This will be my third season, so I know the car, I know almost all the tracks, and with that experience and with a very competitive car, I hope to achieve great things.?