Renault signs rising karters Garcia, Lundgaard to driver academy

Renault Sport
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Renault has announced that karting talents Marta Garcia and Christian Lundgaard have joined its young driver academy ahead of the 2017 season.

Renault re-established its junior program after returning to F1 with a works operation in 2016, having previously aided the careers of Robert Kubica, Heikki Kovalainen and Romain Grosjean.

Garcia, 16, raced in karts last year, but will step up to Spanish Formula 4 with Renault backing in 2017, and is the sole female member of its current driver program.

“It’s a great opportunity and honor to join the Renault Sport Academy. I’m looking forward to working with the team throughout the season,” Garcia said.

“Being in such a professional environment will undoubtedly be key to my development and progress going forward and I know the coaching and assistance will help me prepare for my season ahead in Spanish Formula 4.”

Lundgaard, 15, is a former winner of the CIK-FIA KFJ European karting title, and will race in the SMP F4 NEZ Championship in 2017.

“First, I’d like to thank Renault and the Renault Sport Academy for this opportunity. It feels great already to be part of the program,” Lundgaard said.

“This year is key for me as it will be my first season in single-seaters after karting. The Renault Sport Academy will help me prepare physically and mentally for this new challenge ahead and it feels fantastic to have such support from the team involved.”

Garcia and Lundgaard join Jack Aitken, Max Fewtrell, Jarno Opmeer and Sun Yue Yang on Renault’s junior program, and were welcomed aboard by Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

“We are happy to welcome Marta and Christian to the Renault Sport Academy for 2017. In combination with Jack, Max, Jarno and Sun we have a very exciting line-up of young drivers, highlighting that our focus is very much on the future,” Abiteboul said.

“Marta and Christian are amongst the most exciting talents emerging from the karting scene. Like their fellow Academy members, their selection and their retention is based on their outstanding results and potential.

“Renault Sport Racing is committed to growing its own talent and we will monitor the progress of Marta and Christian with great anticipation.”

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

Hawkins Supercross
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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.