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USF2000’s top two announce their USF Pro 2000 plans for 2024

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

USF2000 champion Simon Sikes will stay with Pabst Racing when he steps up to USF Pro 2000 next year.

The 22-year-old American won the 2020 F1600 Championship Series and also raced part-time in USF2000 that year with Legacy Autosport. He took a best finish of fourth, and another part-time programme in 2021 led to four podiums from 10 races and 14th in the standings.

He was 14th in the points table again last year as he did the first eight races with the team before dropping off the grid with three fifth places as his best results.

The switch to Pabst Racing for 2023 not only resulted in a full campaign, but also the title as Sikes claimed six wins, eight further podiums and seven poles to become champion by a huge 103 points. That gave him a scholarship worth $433,200 to spend on stepping up to USFP2000.

“I’m beyond thrilled to confirm that I will be moving up with Pabst Racing to compete in the 2024 USFP2000 championship,” said Sikes. “It really is a dream come true to stay with the Pabst family for another season. We had a terrific 2023, and it was a pleasure to work with such an amazing group of people. Pabst feels like home now, and the transition to the USFP2000 car has been rather smooth so far.”

Sikes set the pace in USF2000’s post-season test on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course in October.

“The Pabst USFP2000 programme has been extremely powerful so I feel privileged to have this opportunity heading into next year. The support has been overwhelming, so I want to thank everyone that has been a part of this journey so far. I can not wait to get the season started.”

At the end of this season several drivers made their USFP2000 debuts, and two of those have secured full-time seats for 2024.

Nikita Johnson was USF2000 championship runner-up with Velocity Racing Development, and became the series’ youngest ever winner at the opening round. He contested the last two USFP2000 rounds with the team and won on his second start in the third-tier series, aged just 15, then again in the season finale to come 17th in the standings.

“To have the opportunity to run Nikita Johnson full time in USFP000 in 2024 is just one opportunity we couldn’t turn down,” said VRD team boss Dan Mitchell. “To prepare, we had a go at it for the final two 2023 rounds in Circuit of the Americas and Portland, and by all standards it went exceptionally well.”

Danny Dyszelski was 13th in USF2000 in a part-time campaign with VRD, and made his USFP2000 debut with Turn 3 Motorsport in the season finale. He will stay with the team for the full-time move up to the next level.

“I finished the 2023 USFP2000 season with Turn 3 Motorsport and felt right at home within their programme,” said Dyszelski, who was also Radical Cup North America runner-up this year. “I know we will be working hard and that we can achieve great things together. I am up for the challenge.”