For Open Wheel Road Racing
This ranking comprises of American drivers competing in the open wheel predominately road racing development series here or abroad. The ranking will consist of the top 15 prospects in this category.
Currently, the following North American series will be mostly considered: Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, F2000 Championship Series, F1600 Championship Series, Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda, Primus Racing Parts presents Pacific F2000 Racing Series, and Skip Barber Racing School Championship Series.
Also, varous European series will be watched if Americans currently compete in them such as FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series, Formula V8 3.5 Series, Formula Renault Eurocup, Formula Renault Northern European Cup, FIA Formula 3 European Championship, British F3 Championship and F4 British Championship. We are sticking to mostly national level pro racing series, though if someone catches our eye somewhere else, they could be ranked. We will not be considering any current karting participants as we are looking for the next level of success.
We will only be considering the "younger" driver as opposed to those who compete in the Master classes or the like. It's not a matter of age discrimination, but reality -- we're looking for those who have a future as the next great American open wheel road race car driver. We also may not consider those who already have made it into a big time ride even if it was for a brief moment. And those who have moved on to sports car racing will usually be dropped from consideration. It will be a work in progress, so tweaking the system along the way will be inevitable.
How do the drivers get ranked? Various factors are considered: the success a driver is having (poles and wins play a stronger factor than driving for points), the competitiveness of the series they are competing in, the maturity of the driver, how the driver is able to perform at various tracks and conditions (as opposed to being only quick on particular types), how they compare to their teammates, the type of equipment and funding and how they meet the expectations that come with that, how the driver relates to his engineers, crew members, and team managers, and of course how the driver drives (ability to pass, ability to manhandle a poor handling car, ability to set up the car, ability to withstand pressure, etc.).
The factors are all weighed with some counting more than others. This is not an objective ranking system. It is quite subjective, but hopefully based on valid observations and knowledge, similar to the college sports polls. And, similar to the college sports polls, comparing drivers across series like comparing teams across conferences can be problematic. However, keep in mind this is a ranking of the top prospects in the country who are the best bet for a successful future in the sport and not necessarily who can step into a top ride tomorrow. It's similar to the way prospects in other sports are ranked for a future draft, even if they are currently not eligible for the upcoming draft.
It is a ranking based on achievements and not on a birth name, what character one plays on TV, or whether you can appear on a pinup calendar.
This will be a bi-monthly ranking throughout the racing season, appearing around the last Wednesday of May, July, September, and November. The current ranking will state the date when the next ranking will appear.
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