Meet the Contenders: Timothé Buret
 September 8, 2015| 
  • Series News
Six different drivers have stood on the top step of the podium to date in this year’s Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Four of those drivers – rookies Santiago “Santi” Urrutia of Uruguay, Frenchman Timothé Buret and Malaysian Weiron Tan, along with sophomore American Neil Alberico – have a chance to take the title this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. On the line is a Mazda Scholarship of $590,300 to advance to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2016.

PALMETTO, Fla. – Less than three years ago, Timothé Buret set himself on an ambitious racing program designed to put him into competitive open-wheel racing as quickly as possible. The young Frenchman has seen the fruits of that labor this season in Pro Mazda, earning a victory and eight podium finishes, which sets him third in the championship heading into the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The 20-year-old native of Montpellier, France, began riding quads and motorcycles at the age of 3. The young Buret spent entire days enjoying the jumps his father built near the family’s home. He quickly began racing in motocross, quads and buggies. Beginning to get serious about racing at the age of 15, Buret was encouraged by his parents to switch to four-wheeled karts. He progressed quickly through French regional and national championships and caught the eye of one of the top teams in the area, which helped him make the transition to race cars in 2013.

“I knew the Palmyr team through a friend of the family, William Cavailhes, who was already racing on the VdeV circuit,” said Buret. “Palmyr is the premier team in the south of France, where I am from. I learned a great deal from them.”

With an eye toward maximizing his experience in a short amount of time, Buret ran in multiple series over the next two years, including the Caterham French Challenge, VdeV Formula Challenge, VdeV European CN Proto Challenge, and the French Historic Formula Ford cup where he recorded seven victories and 12 podiums. Buret acquitted himself well at the Mazda Road to Indy Chris Griffis Memorial Test at Indianapolis last September and joined Juncos Racing for the 2015 Pro Mazda season. After a difficult opening weekend at St. Petersburg, Buret hit his stride, with eight podium finishes in 12 races, including a victory at the Indianapolis Grand Prix. 

Buret lies 47 points behind championship leader Santi Urrutia and knows he can only control his own destiny. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, like most of the tracks the series runs, will be new to Buret and the rest of the rookie drivers, but that doesn’t change Buret’s plan. 

“My plan for the weekend is to win both races! That is always my plan. Now that I know that victory is delicious, I plan to taste it again. Of course, I have never driven on this circuit, or any of the circuits of the championship this year, but I am working hard and I will count on my ability to adapt to be able to make something happen. But no matter what, this year will have been extraordinary for me, as a driver and as a person.”

With only two seasons in karts and two years in formula cars, Buret indeed has been on an accelerated learning curve. His success this year is a reflection of his capacity to progress and adapt quickly. 

“I came to the U.S. to show my ability in a competitive championship and to be able to measure myself against other young drivers. The successful experience of my fellow countrymen, Sébastien Bourdais and Tristan Vautier, makes me all the more motivated.

“This is my dream, to make motor racing my ‘job’ full time. That’s why I feel it is necessary to keep everything in perspective and to realize this chance is not given to everybody. That’s why I came to the U.S. to win. It’s been a good rookie season – it would be great if fate allows me to win the championship. But for me, to finish on the season-ending podium would be a success.”
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