Look out world, Jamaica is rev’d up! Jamaicans dominate the track and we’ll own the road soon! Jason Bedasse is our driver. He’s getting ready to dominate the road to Indy this year, the premier level of American open wheel racing which features a combination of super speed ways, short ovals, road courses and temporary street circuits. The IndyCar Series offers its international lineup of drivers the most diverse challenges in motorsports. The top point scorer is crowned the series champion and receives a $1 million bonus.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1975 but now an Atlanta resident, Bedasse made his first appearance at the Pro Mazda Championship season opener in St Petersburg, Florida-part of the Mazda Road to Indy series. He became the first Jamaican ever to do so.
With his car draped in the Jamaican flag – his car number 62 (in honour of the year Jamaica became independent), and gear that features the tagline “Out of many, one driver” he hopes to become the first Jamaican to race the Indianapolis 500 race, the ultimate for any race car driver. “My Jamaican heritage has been, and still is, the source of where I draw my confidence,” Bedasse says.
I want to be the first Jamaican ever to do well in open-wheel racing, and my ultimate goal is Indy if I can make it
“Racing is a rush for me; it’s terrifying in a fun way,” says the investment banker. “My first race I was petrified and excited all at the same time. Even the noise of the engines I found intimidating. But over the course of the season I became more and more comfortable with the power and speed; I became addicted to that rush.” But this addiction was not a new thing.
While his foray into the world of racing began much later than a number of his competitors, it is his determination, passion and competitive nature that have paved the way for his current successes.
He made podium (placed third) in the Masters class at the F1600 event at the Montreal Grand Prix in June 2013, and achieved three podium finishes in all during his first season that year. “When I made podium in Montreal 2013, it was one of the biggest thrills of my life.”
After that accomplishment, he tested a Pro Mazda car with M1 Racing team, and they offered him a seat. In 2015, Bedasse is in the process of raising funds to compete at the indy lights level, which includes 18 races. The highest level before Indy Car.
Bedasse will need more than just a passion for speed, and the determination be successful. He trains at the gym five times per week, incorporating a combination of boxing, weights and running into his routine. “I’m 6’4″ and weigh 215 lbs, so I’m already rather large for an Indy car driver.” His diet of lean protein helps him to stay as lean as possible. He also studies his books, studying track maps so he can learn the gears and braking zones for every track he’s about to race. “This helps me visualise what to anticipate at a corner so that I can go faster.” He also adds that mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation. “It’s vitally important to clear your mind and remain calm,” says Bedasse. “The calmer you are, the better vision you have, and the longer you can stay focused on the track to carry speed.”
Bedasse hopes this focus will carry him all the way to the top of the race car world. “I like racing because speed is pure,” he says. “There is no assistance, no traction control, no cheating. In a race car you have to earn your speed.” His goal is to drive in the Indianapolis 500 in two years, and become the first Jamaican in history to do it. “After that, let’s try and win the whole thing!” he says.