Central Alberta racer gears up for championship

It’s something you’re either born with or not —the intense need for speed

NEED FOR SPEED - Open wheel rising star Parker Thompson has joined the JDC Motorsports team

NEED FOR SPEED - Open wheel rising star Parker Thompson has joined the JDC Motorsports team

It’s something you’re either born with or not —the intense need for speed, choosing to accelerate at top speeds others would flinch at.

This deep-seated need to chase a thrill is something Parker Thompson, 16, of Red Deer, was born with and is guiding him into a premier level of karting towards his quest to win the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

Currently on a winter break, and after successful off-season preparations and testing with his new team JDC Motorsports, Thompson said 2015 is looking like a really good year.

“The team chemistry has been fantastic and the car is feeling better and better the more we develop it,” he said.

Thompson first got behind the wheel of a kart at the young age of eight. He said his dad was into high intensity two-wheel racing, like motocross, and suffered a few injuries along the way. Thompson wanted to follow his dad’s path, but instead landed on all four wheels.

“Karting on four wheels is just as fast, but it seemed like the safer option.”

Racing at a local kart club in Calgary, Thompson’s skills began to make him a standout and soon he was competing in regional events throughout B.C. and Alberta.

“I did really well in my first year of karting and soon I received a phone call from Buddy Rice out of Phoenix,” explained Thompson.

As a former Indy 500 and the 2009 24 Hours of Daytona winner, Rice took Thompson under his wing, acting as his coach and essentially propelling his career onto the next level.

“It all unfolded from there,” said Thompson. “He’s quite well-known in racing and opened up doors for me.”

At the age of 14, Thompson moved to Italy all on his own to pursue full-time racing in Europe.

In 2012, Thompson was the first ever North American to make it to the podium in the junior rotax category at the World Championships in Portugal, where he was ranked third in the world.

Now as a rookie, Thompson has made the jump from driving 125cc karts in Europe that topped out at 140 km/h, to now racing formula cars, which can reach speeds upwards of 240 km/h.

He was signed to JDC Motorsports, a Minnesota-based squad, in December, joining the Road to Indy driver development program, which provides drivers with an opportunity to gain valuable experience on and off the track while following a path of progression through a three-part development series, leading eventually to a scholarship to move up to the next above category.

“It feels great to have a group of very respected people in motorsport believe in what I have to offer on and off the track,” he said. “For them to put their trust in a driver who has not yet proven himself yet is really amazing.”

The JDC Motorsports team has two classes of cars and Thompson will be behind the wheel of the USF2000. Most of the other drivers in the Championship, which is the first step up the Road to Indy ladder, are a few years older than Thompson.

“Most competitors are in the 18 to 21 year age, with more experience,” explained Thompson.

Each day new drivers are signing on to teams for the championship, but for now Thompson is the youngest driver.

Thompson will be competing in his first event on March 27th on a 1.8 mile street course through the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.  He will first compete in the Cooper Tires Winterfest on Feb. 19th and 20th at the NOLA Motorsports Park.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday 12, 2020.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Most Read