British Columbia rookie now leads championship battle for MRTI Shootout ticket
BOWMANVILLE, ONT (August 7, 2018) – North Vancouver, British Columbia’s Kellen Ritter is certainly enjoying the fruits of a strong transition from kart racing to open wheel junior formula car competition, as the 17-year-old Exclusive Autosport driver now leads the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship following a sweep of the recent tripleheader weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The Exclusive Autosport squad spread its assets and talented crew between three different venues over the July 27-29 weekend, running their USF2000 and Pro Mazda drivers at Mid-Ohio, a single F1600 driver at Mt. Tremblant, and Ritter alongside his teammate Spike Kohlbecker at the famed Ontario facility. Ritter led the team’s charge with his three important wins.
“It was an amazing weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. After the three wins I took the lead of the championship back with a 21 point gap,” Ritter enthused. “And we head into the GP3R weekend tied in the Super Series points with Craig. I’m hoping I’m able to carry this momentum into GP3R and bring home the Super Series title. I want to thank all my sponsors that have helped out this season; Bosa Foods, Elevate Fitness and Wellness, Edgar Development, Walter Wolf, CMSI Pacific, Molecule Sports and Atomica Racing Karts. It’s been an amazing year so far thanks to you all, and I’m hoping it only gets better.”
Saturday morning qualifying at CTMP saw variable conditions with a wet but drying track, meaning that Ritter needed to fully capitalize on his late session laps to draw the most out of his EA Spectrum Honda. After posting the second quickest time during the challenging run, he got a great start from the outside of the front row to build a sizeable lead early on in Race 1. A full course yellow was thrown with just two laps remaining in the race, which handed Kellen his first win of the weekend as the course workers were not able to fully clean up the incident before the checkered flag flew.
Ritter again started second in Race 2 after turning his fastest qualifying lap without the aid of a draft, but when the polesitter suffered a mechanical issue before the green, Kellen was advanced to the pole. Ritter took full advantage of the opportunity to once again stretch out a lead of over two seconds, which he would not relinquish in scoring his second win of the weekend. With the result, he also re-took the lead in the series championship.
The series rookie started on the pole for the third and final race of the weekend, but the battle was much more intense this time around. Ritter’s competition worked together to stay in contact with the leader, and while Zachary Vanier pushed hard in an attempt to get by Kellen on the final lap, he could not complete the pass as Ritter won by 1.211 seconds. With this third win, Ritter now holds a 21-point lead over Jake Craig in the championship with two more race weekends remaining.
“I am really proud of Kellen and his performance at CTMP,” offered Michael Duncalfe, Exclusive Autosport team owner. “After Shannonville, Kellen went home, regrouped, trained hard and came out to CTMP on a mission. He showed composure, control and drove consistently all weekend, which was reflected in the results.”
Ritter has four more weekends to cap off his freshman season of F1600 competition, beginning with the iconic Grand Prix Trois-Rivières street race on the August 10-12 weekend in the popular Quebec city. This race in the final event of the four-weekend Formula 1600 Super Series, which combines two races each from the Ontario and Quebec programs. The Trois-Rivières locals are avid racing fans and will be out in force. From there, Ritter and his Exclusive Autosport team will head to Calabogie Motorsports Park on the August 25-26 weekend. Kellen’s F1600 efforts with Exclusive Autosport would not be possible without the backing of CMSI, Bosa Foods, Molecule, Elevate Fitness, Edgar Development, Walter Wolf Racing and Atomica Karts.
DRIVER RESULTS – KELLEN RITTER – #90 SPECTRUM F1600
TOYO TIRES F1600 CHAMPIONSHIP
CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK – BOWMANVILLE, ON
Qualifying: 2nd – 1:43.312
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st
Race 3: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st