Jack Mitchell Jr is a 17 year old American open wheel race car driver from Chicago, IL working his way up to becoming a successful IndyCar driver. Jack began driving race cars when he was 14 with no previous karting experience. Within a year, he received "Most Improved" honors in the Skip Barber Summer Series, with several wins. He also began driving in the Toyo Tires Formula 1600 Series. He finished 3rd overall with the "Rookie of the Year" award, collecting a win and six podiums. By age 16, Jack finished as the vice champion in the 2012 Skip Barber Summer Series, securing a record six wins and eighteen podiums in twenty races. He was also selected for the Team USA Scholarship to go over to England to compete in the Brands Hatch Formula Ford festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy Race where he earned 5th and 10th place finishes respectively, while earning a pole position and a pre-final win at Brands Hatch. Last year, Jack secured sponsorship with Sparco, Honda, and Spectrum. He was a lead driver of the Canadian team, Exclusive Autosport, and won the overall championship. This year, Jack is piloting a Spectrum/Honda #93 car with Exclusive Autosport in the highly competitive US F1600 series.
- October 3rd: Toyo Tires F1600 Championship: Jack Mitchell Jr Wins A-Class Championship
The championship fight was a tight battle all year between Mitchell Jr. and competitor Zacharie Robichon (of Brian Graham Racing). The battle came down to the last two races where Mitchell Jr. had a 66 point lead over Robichon entering Saturday’s race. Mitchell Jr. had a solid qualifying session Saturday, however his fast lap of 1:29:000 was only good enough for P5 on the starting grid. A mere second separated the top 8 cars. In typical Toyo Tires F1600 racing style, Saturday’s race was full of excitement. Mitchell Jr.’s teammate Max Hanratty (#91 SynerComm Inc. / Exclusive Autos port / Sparco USA / Spectrum / Honda) who qualified in P3 slid into the lead on the first lap and maintained his position for the majority of the race. Hanratty looked to be poised to win his first Toyo Tires F1600 race, however was taken out of the race when he was hit from behind in corner 5b. With the top 8 running bumper to bumper, the incident in 5b began a chain reaction of racing incidents. Thomas McGregor, driver of the #93 Exclusive Management Inc. / Dairy Queen / Sparco USA / Spectrum / Honda, (who was running in third) was taken out of the race as he was collected in the multi-car crash. Series newcomer, Tristan DeGrand slid into the lead with only a few laps to go. Unfortunately for DeGrand his day would end early as well after a competitor made an error in corner 10 which sent DeGrand into the tire barrier. Mitchell Jr. took advantage of the mayhem on track and moved into second. Mitchell Jr. was the only Exclusive Autosport car to take the checkered flag Saturday. He did so in second and grew his points lead in the championship.
Mitchell Jr. had a different focus on Sunday. Although he did not have the championship wrapped up, he did have enough points to ensure that baring he did not have a DNF in Sunday’s race, he would take the coveted championship. That said, he and the Exclusive Autosport team decided to play it safe during qualifying Sunday. He qualified his #90 near the back of the field in 19th position. DeGrand qualified in P2, Hanratty in P4 and McGregor in P5. Again, less than a second separated the top 8 on the starting grid.
The field embarked upon some highly intense racing on Sunday during race 2. The top eight cars battled back and forth, cleanly, for the first four laps. On lap four a full course caution was issued for an on-track incident again in corner 5b. DeGrand managed to slip into the lead before the yellow flag was waved. McGregor was hot on his tail. Once back to green, McGregor and DeGrand swapped positions numerous times. Meanwhile, Hanratty battled with Robichon and Steve Bamford for third, fourth and fifth. At the checkered it was series newcomer DeGrand who took the win, followed by McGregor in second. Hanratty finished 5th in Sunday’s race. Hanratty’s standout rookie season in open-wheel racing placed him 4th overall in the championship. Mitchell Jr. safely navigated from 19th to 7th in the A-class (9th overall), securing the championship.
Jack Mitchell Jr., driver #90 EM Inc. / Exclusive Autosport / Sparco USA / Spectrum Honda
“This season was phenomenal. I was given the opportunity to drive the best car, set up by the best team in the series. Winning the championship after missing the two races at Shannonville to support the team’s Quebec championship fight was not easy, but thanks to the EA crew, Remi Lanteigne and Michael Duncalfe we made it happen. I have learned so much from this year and I look forward to carrying this success over into 2014. Big thank you’s to Spectrum, Honda, Sparco USA, Bell Helmets, Flex Watches and my family for all of the support.”
- June 25th: Mitchell Jr. Doubles Up in Rounds 5 & 6
The quest for Toyo Tires F1600 Championship race wins resumed over the weekend (June 22-23), with the talented racers taking to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park as part of the British Auto Racing Club Grand Prix of Ontario. When the final checkered flag had waved, Jack Mitchell Jr. had completed the doubleheader sweep, while Graham Lobban and Mike Gayowski had shared the B class victories.
Wow what a weekend!
I competed in the Montreal Grand Prix last year with mixed results and learned important lessons about low grip street circuits. Being that it was my second year, I knew that I would have a solid chance at competing for the win.
The Exclusive Autosport Spectrum cars have been extremely reliable and quick at every track we’ve gone to. That’s a massive comfort heading into a track such as Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve.
For those who don’t know, the track is a public park for the other 362 days of the year and subsequently presents a lot of new elements that you would not usually have at a permanent road course. There is almost no grip when the weekend starts, but as the Formula 1 cars progressively lay more rubber down, the grip level increases significantly. Additionally, it’s a very bumpy course with a lot of curbing built for the Formula 1 cars. The curbs can severely damage a Formula 1600, if misused. All of this played a factor and made the racing fantastic this weekend.
Friday morning I woke up early in the hotel, located in downtown Montreal, to catch the first Formula 1 free practice. It was raining hard, but there must have been around 75,000 fans watching. I watched fellow American Alexander Rossi practice for Caterham, which was really inspiring. Once practice was over, it was time to get down to business with the team. The extraordinary EA crew checked and double-checked everything on the car, and we rolled out for qualifying at 6 p.m. Since I had the points lead I had the privilege of leading the field out for the session. I was ecstatic when I came out of the pits to find that there were still fans watching our session at 6 p.m. in wet conditions. The fans were so supportive all weekend and it was a huge compliment. Big thanks to everyone who came. When the session ended I was 3rd quickest, two-tenths off of pole.
Race 1 was interesting. It was raining but it was immediately after F1 qualifying. The racing line was completely dry from the F1 cars, but the rest of the circuit was wet. This was definitely new to me, and it made for a great race in front of all of the fans. I took the lead by lap two, and I pulled a nice six or seven-second gap on the rest of the field. The car was setup perfectly by the crew, and it was absolutely surreal to lead the first 20 minutes of the race in front of nearly 150,000 fans. Unfortunately, there was an incident that took place in Turn 1, which put the first three corners under caution. I happened to catch lap traffic right at the yellow flag and was forced to stay behind them. I lost my gap, which was a real bummer.
I battled hard with my teammate for the remainder of the race and ended up going two-wide into the final chicane. Although there was a possibility that we would have gotten through cleanly, I cut the chicane because we were extremely close to touching. I would rather get good points for the championship! I crossed the line in 1st but Thomas [McGregor] was given the win justly following the race. It was so cool waving to all of the fans after the race! Everyone was on their feet, and I am so pleased to know that we put on a good show.
After the race there were tons of festivities at the track and downtown. We were able to walk down pitlane and saw some big-name drivers like Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez. I waved at Kimi, but I don’t think he was in the best of moods, big surprise! I saw so many familiar faces, and everyone was really supportive. Our cars were in tech until nearly 8 p.m., and the whole team was at the track putting the engines back together until 2 a.m. This is the kind of support that creates such a winning atmosphere at Exclusive Autosport. I feel like my job of doing what I love on-track is such a minor duty compared to what the EA guys do. The next morning we made sure to grab tons of coffee and donuts for them!