NEW SMYRNA, Fla., February 14, 2021 — The 55th World Series of Asphalt was held on February 5–13 at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida where Jean-Philippe Bergeron completed 7 races in 9 days. The driver from Saint-Donat in Quebec, Canada had retained the services of Race Car Solutions, a well-established team in Florida that handles, among other things, the preparation of race cars and driver development. Jean-Philippe, now known as “Bergy” (easier to pronounce for English speakers), started the week aboard the Pro Late Model #51. Bergeron first qualified 15th and 17th respectively in the first two races. He literally fought with the car to finish 14th both times. It was clear that the car had some mechanical problems that prevented Jean-Philippe from getting more speed and stability out of it. A change of car was necessary. Bergeron then took the wheel of the #15 of the same team for the following races. “That’s when the races really started. I had a good race car, and I was now equipped to drive forward,” said the driver who finished at the front of the field in the championship. At the time of writing, we are still waiting for the official results, but before the last race, Bergeron was in fifth place out of 36 drivers entered.
A Fierce Competition
World Series of Asphalt races are known to be fierce. Most of the registered drivers are among the best in their class in the United States. “There was no way I was going to be intimidated. I took my place, I took the best passing opportunities, and I brought the car back almost intact in every race … except the last night,” said the driver. Indeed, the competition was tough for the drivers who were fighting for championship points. # 26 Cody Swanson and #14 Conner Jones were battling for first place and they drove a race as if there was no tomorrow, at the expense of the other competitors. Jean-Philippe was one of the victims of this fight and unfortunately was caught with 17 laps to go when he was on a roll in 7th place, climbing from 23rd after a pit stop.
During this intensive week, Jean-Philippe Bergeron impressed by his maturity, talent and great ability to adapt. “I’m amazed to see how much experience he gained in one week! We had several cars on the track during this championship, and Jean-Philippe represented us well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the American tracks in the near future,” said Jamie Skinner, owner of Race Car Solution. Indeed, the 22-year-old driver has traded with team owners who have cars in all spheres of American stock car racing, from Pro Late Models to the NASCAR Cup. “Without us really realizing it, this week’s competition has opened doors for us. Jean-Philippe got noticed,” says Marc Bergeron, Jean-Philippe’s father. Without naming them by name, he says he had discussions with owners of different teams. “We don’t close doors. We’ll see where it all goes once we get past COVID,” he adds.
Reconciling Racing and Studies
Bergeron is currently in his last year of university studies for his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the École des technology supérieures de Montréal. Although it would be easy to immerse oneself 100% in racing, Jean-Philippe is aware that there are few drivers who make a living in this field. This is why he wants to finish his studies and get involved in the family business Prolon Controls, which specializes in commercial HVAC controls. The fact remains that racing is his primary passion, and he intends to pursue it as far as possible. “Jean-Philippe is extremely disciplined. Every morning he went jogging and studied until noon, then he left for the drivers’ meeting and make his race day,” said his mother proudly. “His father and I wish to accompany him to the end of his passion,” she adds.
The Prolon Racing team is currently working on the preparation of the #18 car that will take part in the LMS championships at Autodrome Montmagny and Autodrome Chaudière de Vallée-Jonction starting May 15 and 22 respectively.