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Mar 21, 2014 - 06:13 AM
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Jamaica's Bedasse Joins M1 Racing
Posted by: newsla on Mar 21, 2014 - 06:09 AM
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Jamaica's Bedasse Joins M1 Racing


The national motto of Jason Bedasse's native Jamaica — "Out of many, one people" — speaks of the diversity of the population of that Caribbean nation.

 

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Bedasse has a new twist to that phrase as his personal motto: "Out of many, one driver."

With the announcement today that he's joined M1 Racing for selected events in the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, he'll be the first driver from Jamaica to compete in that Mazda Road to Indy series.

"I want to be the first Jamaican ever to do well in open-wheel racing, and my ultimate goal is Indy if I can make it," said Bedasse, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1975 and is very proud of his heritage. There has never been a Jamaican in the Indianapolis 500, but he hopes to change that statistic.

The story has definite similarities to the 1993 film "Cool Runnings," which was about Jamaica's first bobsled team trying to make it to the Winter Olympics.

With M1 Racing's help, Bedasse is creating a whole Jamaican theme for his racing season. His car is #62 in honor of 1962, the year that Jamaica gained full independence from the United Kingdom. It's green, yellow and black, the colors of Jamaica's flag.

Bedasse hopes that the public will enjoy following him through this new experience, and that corporate Jamaica, Canada and America will support it. His current list of supporters include Bedasse Racing, Pantone Capital Holdings (PCH), Foxcode, Firebird Asset Management, 5i Research, World of Eyes, Zeifmans, TorontoSkins.com and DM4.

Bedasse said he's always had a fascination with fast cars and a serious need for speed. He's a former ski and BMX racer, and a graduate of the University of Western Ontario. Although he started driving competitively later than some of his rivals, he's very passionate about the sport and a few years ago he decided it was time to pursue his racing dreams.

He got his feet wet in go-karts on Bay Street in downtown Toronto, and then competed in a karting league at Goodwood Kartways in Ontario in 2011. He moved into race cars after meeting a F1600 racer, and said "I've been serious about racing ever since." Tests in a Formula 2000 car at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport) followed.

Brian Graham Racing scouted and recruited him to join its team in the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship for 2013. That team has a long list of distinguished alumni, including Conor Daly, Mikhail Goikhberg, Spencer Pigot, Stefan Rzadsinski, Kyle Marcelli and Scott Hargrove. While at BGR Bedasse was coached by Jesse Mason, who has competed in British and German Formula 3 as well as Firestone Indy Lights and its predecessor, the Indy Pro Series. The highlight of Bedasse's season was placing third in the Masters class at the F1600 event at the Montreal Grand Prix in June, and he achieved three podium finishes in all last year.

He also met Remi Lanteigne, M1 Racing's team manager, through the F1600 world. "Remi is amazing; he helped me a lot last year," Bedasse said.

He tested a Pro Mazda car with M1 Racing during the off-season at the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit west of Tulsa. "I tested with them, they offered me a seat, and I'm happy to be with M1," he said. He will compete in the Pro Mazda series' Expert class as the teammate to Jay Horak, who won that championship last year driving for M1 Racing.

"Jason wants to learn as much as he can this year, and I'm confident that we can help him improve his race craft," said Paul Mata, the team owner. "It will be a steep learning curve for him, but he's certainly passionate about the sport and that's one of the key ingredients to success."

The Pro Mazda season-opening doubleheader, which is part of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 29-30 in St. Petersburg, Fla., will be Bedasse's first Pro Mazda event, his first street course races and his first races in the United States.

"I'm going to learn as much as I can this year," Bedasse said. "All the tracks will be new to me, but I'm still pretty psyched about it. I'm not scared of it; I welcome the challenge."

Pro Mazda competitors will get two 30-minute practice sessions at 8:35 a.m. and 3:35 p.m. on Friday, March 28 before they qualify at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, March 29. The twin 40-minute races are at 5:35 p.m. Saturday, March 29 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday, March 30.

The event is scheduled to be featured from 1:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. ET May 24 on the NBC Sports Network and 6:54 p.m. GMT June 3 on Motors TV in Europe.

M1 Racing has driver openings for other events throughout the 2014 schedule, which can be found at promazdachampionship.com.

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