Carson Etter joins DC Autosport for 2023 USF Juniors Campaign
 February 14, 2023| 
  • Team News

Young Californian set for his first season on the USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires ladder

VILLA PARK, Calif. – Carson Etter will contest his rookie season in the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires in 2023, joining DC Autosport for his second full year in open-wheel racing.

The 18-year-old Californian – a freshman at Boise State University – joins the USF Pro Championships driver development system (formerly the Road to Indy), designed to help drivers progress up the ladder to the top rung, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Etter’s journey to the ladder system began on a very different trajectory than most of his fellow drivers. Taking a page from the book used so successfully by Jimmie Johnson and Rick Mears, Etter began his racing career on dirt – even racing a kart on dirt (albeit with the same roll cage as many of the off-road vehicles).

“My dad has been off-road racing for over 30 years,” said Etter. “He started in dirt bikes then switched to cars. He got me and my older brother Ryan trophy karts when we were about four – we had to wait a year to get in them because we couldn’t reach the pedals! As we got older, we both got into off-road racing, though my brother went the desert route and I went the short course route. The priority now is open wheel, but my home ground is still off-road racing!”

Etter earned the 2017 Challenge Cup title in the Junior 2 Kart class and placed third in the 2020 Lucas Oil Off-Road Regional Challenge. But Etter had another plan that just needed a little jump start.

“I’ve been a Formula One fan since I was young and I always wanted to race an open-wheel car, but I thought that since I didn’t start in karting, it would be too difficult. But my dad knew Dave Freitas and I was fortunate that Dave gave me an opportunity to test his F4 car, and I turned out to be fairly decent at it. I had raced a kart at places like K1 Speed, so I looked at the F4 as a larger version. That seemed to work.”

Contesting the 2022 Formula Pro USA Western Championships in the F4 category with Dave Freitas Racing, Etter finished an impressive second in the final standings, with five victories and 12 podium finishes.

Knowing that Etter was ready to move up the open-wheel ladder, Freitas connected him with Don Conner, longtime Cape Motorsports engineer and team owner, who contested the inaugural USF Juniors season last year. Etter joined DC Autosport last October at the official series test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and acquitted himself well, given the very steep learning curve.

“I had no seat time before that weekend, so I went in somewhat blind. But in a way, that was a good thing, as we could see how I would progress in a short time. By the end of the weekend, I was within two seconds of the leaders. I didn’t know how the car would handle but listened to Don and improved where I could every single lap – being consistent and pushing harder and harder. I’m happy I was able to close up the gap.”

The USF Juniors series will see a new chassis in 2023, a Tatuus JR-23 that utilizes the same chassis as the USF2000 and USF Pro 2000 series, with a 2-liter MZR powerplant prepared by Elite engines and producing 150 horsepower. Etter had the chance to test the new car and likes what he sees.

“I’ve done two test days in the new USF Juniors car and overall, it does feel very similar to the USF-22. The main difference is in braking – I don’t feel that much difference in the power band. I feel very comfortable so far; it’s a fun car.”

Etter contested last weekend’s Sebring round of the YACademy Winter Series to keep himself race ready, finishing in the top 11 in all three races with a best finish of seventh in race three. But he’ll have a balancing act to conduct for the first several months of the season, as he is a freshman at Boise State University, majoring in Business Marketing – though he’s confident he has a system in place.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten good at managing my time. I have a daily schedule that includes time for meals, gym, homework, classes, and of course, relaxation. It’s a pretty detailed daily schedule so I can better manage my time.”

The 2023 USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires season gets underway in February with the official series test at Sebring International Raceway. The season takes the green flag March 23 – 25 with the tripleheader weekend, also at Sebring. All races will be broadcast live at

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