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Garett Grist Makes The Move to Formula Cars

Derek Daly Academy Driver joins Britain West Motorsports to run single seater races in both Ontario and Quebec

Grist talks racing with IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe. Photo by Cody Schindel - Autosports Media GroupGarett Grist, two-time Team Canada member, steps into the formula car world beginning this weekend by taking on the ultra fast and challenging Mosport International Raceway in the Formula Ford division. Grist ended a busy 2010 with a trip to Italy for the 2010 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals followed on week with the 2010 Skip Barber Karting Shootout at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterrey, CA. Moving himself up from Group Four to Group Two for the final day put Grist in the hunt for a coveted Skip Barber Scholarship. That strong result cemented in Grist's mind that he wanted to make the move from karts to cars. Also in 2010 the James Hinchcliffe Hinchtown Karting Shootout Graduate was able to impress the Indy Car driver during the one-day shootout at the famed Bridgestone Academy. On the 2011 schedule for the rookie driver are seven rounds of the Ontario Formula Ford Championship and two rounds of the Quebec Formula Tour including the Formula One Grand Prix of Montreal and the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres. The 16-year-old driver is looking to end the season at the Walter Hayes Trophy held each year in England.


"We are really excited to have Garett join the Britain West team for this season," commented Britain West Team owner David Clubine. "Garett has loads of national and international karting experience and is trusting us with his first season of car racing. That is important to us for sure."


Helping to seal the deal was the opportunity to work with mechanic Mark Warren and engineer Phil Matthews. Grist previously worked with Warren during a Formula BMW test session. The two hit it off right away and looked forward to reconnecting for the 2011 season. Matthews, who previously worked with Williams F1 driver Rubens Barrichello, is equally excited to be coaching the rookie racer. The trio has been hitting the track working on the setup and tuning on the Britain West-powered Van Diemen Formula Ford. Among the many support personnel glad to see Grist make the move is mentor and coach Derek Daly.


"I'm really glad that Garett chose to run the Formula Ford for his first year of racing," comments Derek Daly Academy founder and former Formula One driver Derek Daly. "I raced in Formula Ford as did my son Conor, who now leads the Indy Lights Series. It's a great place to start. I like what I saw in Garett at Laguna Seca last year and he will do fantastic."


Garett is racing with the support of Alpinestars of Italy, Bell Racing Helmets of Champaign, IL, Auto Sports Media Group of Guelph, ON and Secrets of Speed Publications of Grimsby, ON. Added to the program this year is Art Rontondo Helmet Designs of Montreal, QC. As the top helmet painter in Canada, Rontondo clients include F1 drivers Adrian Sutil and Sergio along with Indy Car drivers Mike Conway, Graham Rahal, Dan Wheldon and Jay Howard to name a few.


"Last year was blast racing karts across Canada and working with Nathan Brown. He taught me a lot and we were able to meet our goal of making it to the Grand Finals. I can't thank Gary Lobaugh of MRP Motorsports and Birel Motorsports enough for the incredible support they gave us all season long," comments Grist on the eve of his formula car debut. "We talked to several teams and looked at several different options and Britain West was the right fit for me. We have been spending a lot time at the shop on car set-up and fitting. We only have a couple of days in the car, but I am really confident we can run well this weekend at Mosport. I can't wait to hit the track."


As the only kart racer in Canada to run both the Western Canadian Championship and the Eastern Canadian Challenge, Grist's Coast-to-Coast program set a new standard for karting activation in Canada. Taking back-to-back national titles with the ASN Canada FIA Championships in 2009 and the Western Canada Championships in 2010 Grist has built a track record of delivering. Building on that strong base, Grist will be launching a very unique Children's Charity Program in the coming weeks followed by a unique Teen Safe Driving Program all built on a new branding platform Garett's World. One Dream. One Planet. Developing programs that are designed to support the very communities we all work in is important to the 16-year-old driver.


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