DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports scores top result of the season
 September 20, 2022| 
  • Team News

AUSTIN, Texas. – DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports saved the best for last, scoring its highest finish of the year in the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires season finale at Circuit of the Americas last weekend.

Termed by Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires series development director – and PA announcer – Rob Howden as “one of the most improved drivers of the season” Ethan Ho (Los Angeles) brought his No. 71 MEGA Automotive Ligier home in fourth position in the final race of the weekend’s triple header.

Ho had been to COTA only once before, having made one of his first forays into car racing there two years ago in a Skip Barber racing school event. The 17-year-old Californian was coming off a solid learning experience several weeks ago, as Ho made his Road to Indy debut, scoring three top 13 finishes in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship finale at Portland International Raceway.

Ho immediately settled in during Friday’s test, pacing in the top seven in all three sessions – and posting the fourth-quickest time in session one.

Saturday morning’s qualifying session took the green flag with ambient temperatures in the mid-90s, with 50% humidity. The Don Conner-led team steadily climbed the charts, managing the gap to traffic and perfecting his corner entries and exits – an important part of setting a quick lap time on COTA’s 20-turn, 3.426-mile road course.

Race one

The green flag flew early Saturday afternoon, sending the field up the iconic 133-foot climb to turn one at COTA. But halfway through that first lap, the leader spun into the gravel in turn 12, bringing out the yellow flag. The green flag flew once ago on lap three, with Ho getting a good jump, then taking advantage – and staying clear – of contact between two cars ahead. A second full course caution came back out on lap six, with Ho into the fourth position.

The INDYCAR AMR Safety Team made quick work of the second car of the race off in turn 12, going back to green on lap seven. Ho went wide in turn one but was able to fend off the pass attempt by championship contender Alessandro de Tullio. He settled into fourth, able to keep his challengers at bay – until lap 10, when Ho got the worst of a three-wide rounding of turn 19, putting him back in sixth. However, several drivers received post-race time penalties for avoidable contact, including Ho, putting him back to 16th position.

Race two

Another warm and humid day greeted drivers for the penultimate green flag of the season on Sunday morning. Starting fifth, Ho dove to the inside in turn one and made the pass for third position. But at the exit of turn two, a car tagged Ho in the rear, sending him into a spin and into the path of another car that clipped him as well, causing damage to the right front suspension that put him out of the race.

Race Three

The DCA team did an outstanding job to get Ho to the grid only two hours later. He had qualified seventh but started fifth when two cars ahead went to the back of the grid but grabbed fourth on the opening lap. Unfortunately, a yellow flag on lap two slowed his progress but the battle recommenced on lap seven. Ho and Bryson Morris went side-by-side in turn one, with Morris just able to get a nose ahead to take the position.

Ho battled with Andre Castro throughout the lap, back to sixth as the field came back to the front straight. But Ho refused to concede, setting up Castro on the back stretch and retaking fifth, with the pair continuing a spirited fight. The yellow returned on lap 11 for two laps, setting up a three-lap dash to the finish.

Once again, the top eight spread out going into turn one, setting up multiple two- and three-wide moments. Ho battled several cars, including presumptive championship winner Mac Clark for the final podium spot through the final laps.

“For having not tested at COTA earlier in the year, we had some learning to do but we raced well,” said Conner. “It shows how far Ethan has come from the beginning of the season. Race one was tough, the car that hit us just came right across the racetrack, so the penalty was difficult, but that’s racing. Same with race two, getting hit on the opening lap. So it was nice to get the car back together and get the strongest finish of the season in the last race, ending on a high note. Ethan had a lot of battling to get there, which was great.”


ETHAN HO – No. 71 MEGA Automotive

Race 1: Start – 8th / Finish – 16th

Race 2: Start – 5th / Finish – 17th

Race 3: Start – 7th / Finish – 4th

Final Championship standing:  7th

“I feel that this was our strongest weekend of the season in terms of my driving and racing, being able to consistently break into the top five, where most of the fast guys are. We were missing just a good draft and a setup tweak in qualifying, but I thought we did well given our experience level compared to some of the other drivers.

“We were lucky to avoid early incidents in race one but I went deep into a corner to make a pass and another car hit me in the right front, affecting handling. We got a penalty for that, which was unfortunate. I got spun in race two and hit, and that was race over – but the team did a great job to fix the car quickly! Race three was the best race of the season: a lot of battling, watching things happen, making passes. We didn’t have enough to chase down third in the end, but it shows how far we’ve come this year – from spinning off track by myself at the first race of the year to battling for a podium, especially in my first year of car racing.”
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