The Yacademy Winter Testing Series: Spring Training for Open Wheel Racers

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You can never get enough track time in motorsport, especially if you are a young, developing driver. Simulators are great tools but they are intended to augment track practice, not to replace them. Experienced racer Gustavo Yacamán saw the need for a more structured training experience for young drivers and thus his Yacademy was born. I asked him to fill me in on why he started it and how you can get participate.

Motorsport Prospects: What is your background in motorsport?

Gustavo Yacamán: I have been racing since I was 8 years old. Raced Go-Karts in Colombia, Brazil, USA and Europe. Tons of open wheel experience ranging from Formula BMW to F3 to Indy lights and some Indycar Testing. IMSA Prototype classes, Le Mans 24 hours, overall podium at the 24 hours of Daytona, class podium/pole position and track record at the 12 hours of Sebring. Got a lot done in 20 years!

MP: How did Yacademy come about? Why did you start it?

GY: Yacademy started when I was putting a special event together for one of my sponsors. We had five special clients on a race track while making sure the experience was second to none. After this, we started doing some small track days with friends and friends of friends and slowly the track days grew to what they are now and we keep growing. I just wanted to offer a special experience for supercar owners that other track days don’t offer. 

Parallel to the track days, we started the Winter Testing Series for all open wheel classes. Young open wheel drivers need as much track time as possible, but renting the tracks is a very expensive thing to do. We try our best to keep the cost down for teams and drivers in order to offer them as many days as possible. 

MP: What are the goals of Yacademy?

GY: The goals of the Yacademy Winter Testing series is to offer affordable track time for young drivers to develop their skills. With the F4 Winter series we have our racers go through the paces of a race weekend during testing before they go out and do the first race of their championship. This way they get to practice starting procedures, safety car procedures and so on. That way, when they get to race 1 of their championship they would have already completed 6 races! This minimizes room for costly mistakes. 

MP: How is it structured?

GY: There is open track time for all classes. F3, F4, USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 and Indy lights. The F4’s will get a day of practice and a day with 3 races at each track. We will run at Palm Beach International Raceway and at Homestead. 6 total races for the F4 kids! 

MP: Aside from being on track, what else do the drivers get as far as training and race prep?

GY: Besides all the track time they get, we try and help them as much as we can. Between myself and other experienced drivers we make ourselves available for any young driver that needs coaching those days. 

MP: How much does it cost?

GY: The entry fee is $1000 USD a day which comes out to $4000 USD for the whole winter series. 

Gustavo Yacoman with Student

MP: Who are the target audience for the series?

GY: All open wheel drivers. 

MP: When does it take place?

GY: March 2-3-4-5, 2020

MP: Anything else to add?

GY: The full details and schedule are as follows:

The dates are March 2-3, 2020 at Palm Beach international Raceway and March 4-5, 2020 at Homestead Miami speedway.

The following will be available during the test days.
– Tire Mounting
– Tire Sales from Hankook. We are working on getting Cooper Tires to come as well.
– Catering for Drivers and Crew.
– Photographer for all the days.
– Live timing


USF2000 and Indy Pro will be separated in their own sessions. F3 will run with USF2000 unless their times are closer to Indy Pro than USF2000. We will adapt as we go.

The F4 class will consist of 3 open practice sessions, with the last one considered as Qualifying on the first day at each track. Then second day the drivers will have 3 x 30 minute races. In the races the drivers will practice their standing starts, and if it doesn’t happen naturally, we will create a safety car situation in one of the 3 races for them to practice.

Provisional time table for the Winter Series testing and racing:

Day 1
9:00-9:45 Indy Pro
9:45-1030 USF2000
10:30-11:00 F4 FP1
11:00 – 11:30 Indy Pro
11:30-12:00 USF2000
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-1:30 F4 FP2
1:30-2:45 Indy Pro
2:45-3:30 USF2000
3:30 – 4:00 F4 Qualy
4:00-4:30 Indy Pro
4:30-5:00 USF2000

Day 2
9:00-9:45 Indy Pro
9:45-1030 USF2000
10:30-11:15 F4 Race 1
11:15- 12:00 Indy Pro
12:00- 12:30 USF2000
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:00-1:45 F4 Race 2
1:45-2:15 Indy Pro
2:15- 3:30 USF2000
3:30- 4:00 Indy Pro
4:00- 4:30 USF2000
4:30-5:15 Race 3

You can get further information by emailing Gustavo at gusty@gustavoyacaman.com or by phone at 317-414-1124.


Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. A life-long fan of motorsport, he applies his legal background to assist race drivers in finding the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.