// Swede lines up in deep USF Pro 2000 field
// Season gets underway this weekend at St. Petersburg INDYCAR opener
Joel Granfors is entering a new exciting phase of his career this weekend as the Swedish single-seater ace prepares for his debut in American motorsport on the streets of St. Petersburg.
Granfors joins the USF Pro 2000 field this season, racing two steps below the top-tier NTT INDYCAR SERIES in what marks a significant shift from his previous all-European experience.
Apart from a new series, a new car, new team and a new continent, 17-year-old Granfors also finds himself thrown in at the deep end this weekend as the season springs to life on a street course on the fashionable shores of St. Petersburg, Florida.
With zero previous street track experience, Granfors will have his work cut out to adapt to the challenge, well aware that the slightest mistake can mean instant retirement between the unforgiving barriers.
“This is going to be a very special weekend in many ways,” says Joel Granfors. “Everything is all new for me this season, and it’s particularly exciting to kick it off on a street track. I know it’s going to be a challenge, especially with just 30 minutes of practice before qualifying. It will be key to maximize that short window, stay away from trouble, and make the most of every single lap.”
The USF Pro 2000 field, which features approximately 20 drivers in 2023, arrives in St. Petersburg straight from the series’ official pre-season test at the nearby Sebring International Raceway.
Across two days of running on Monday and Tuesday, Granfors made good progress aboard his 275-bhp Exclusive Autosport IP-22 Tatuus.
“We had a solid test and learned quite a bit,” Joel Granfors explains. “At this stage, it’s mainly about getting to know the team’s way of working, and understanding what this car needs from me as a driver. It’s a process that will continue in St. Petersburg this weekend.”
Granfors descends on the U.S. racing community following a strong tenure in Europe, winning Sweden’s Formula Nordic and Aquila Synergy Cup titles in 2020 and finishing second overall in Britain’s GB3 Championship last year.
Moving stateside, he will go up against not only the best and brightest of American junior racing, but also a number of drivers sharing a similar background in Europe.
“I race to win, but at the same time, you have to be realistic,” Joel Granfors concludes. “This weekend in particular will throw so many firsts at me. I have to remember I’m a complete rookie over here, while most of the others have raced at these tracks for several years.
“We’ll take it one step at a time and see where we end up, but of course I’d love to go away from this weekend with a strong result in the bag.”
The USF Pro 2000 season begins on Friday with practice and qualifying. That is followed by two races later in the weekend; one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Live streaming is available for all races via usfpro2000.com, YouTube and the USF Pro Championships App. For further information throughout the weekend, please visit joelgranfors.com.
TIME TABLE (U.S. Eastern)
USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires
Rd. 1 – Streets of St. Petersburg (USA)
Friday 3 March
Practice: 09:35-10:10 am
Qualifying: 01:00-01:30 pm
Saturday 4 March
Race 1: 11:15 am-12:00 pm
Sunday 5 March
Race 2: 3:00-3:45 pm
USF Pro Championships App