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Markus Niemelä (born 20 March 1984 in Rauma) is a Finnish former race car driver. He was the 2008 series champion after winning the final round at Road Atlanta. His international racing career has been volatile due to a number of injuries he has sustained during his career.

Markus Niemelä
NationalityFinland Finnish
Born (1984-03-20) March 20, 1984 (age 35)
Atlantic Championship career
Debut season2008
Current teamJensen MotorSport
Car number1
Former teamsBrooks Associates
Newman Wachs Racing
Starts24
Wins2
Poles1
Fastest laps0
Best finish1st in 2008 Atlantic Championship season
Championship titles
1998
2002
2004
2004
2004
2008
Finland Junior Champion
Formula A Finland Champion
Formula Ford STCC Champion
Formula Ford Sweden Champion
Formula Ford Finland Champion
Champ Car Atlantic Champion

CareerEdit

KartingEdit

In 1998, Niemelä won the Finnish junior karting championship with maximum points. In 2001, injury of left arm in a snowboarding accident before the start of season prevented participation in the Formula A European/World Championship. He won the one race where he participated, driving practically one-handed against top Finnish karters (ICA).

The following year, Niemelä was the Finnish champion in Formula A. He set the fastest laptime in at least one heat of every European Championship round. He also qualified in World Cup final but technical problems caused a retirement in pre-final and final. In 2003, because of an accident in a European championship race, Niemelä could not drive for three months. He returned for the World Championships to finish fifth.

Single-seatersEdit

2004Edit

Markus became the Finnish and Swedish Champion and the winner of STCC Formula Ford championship. Led Scandinavian Championship before the last round but finished 2nd overall because did not participate on the last round. Nominated as a ”Young Champion” by Finnish ASN. Tested for Formula BMW and was fastest at several unofficial tests.

2005Edit

Markus finished 7th in championship points with one victory and one pole position. Many crashes resulting to damaged car during the season (12 out of 20 races). He was also 5th in UK Formula Renault Winter Championship, 3rd best qualifier of the championship (3rd, 4th, 9th and 3rd in qualifyings). Markus drove Formula Renault first time ever in free practice of first race meeting.

2006Edit

One victory, fastest lap and pole position. Multiple Driver Of The Day Awards - awarded by Renault Sport. Markus finished 7th in the final standings with best positions 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2x4th.

2007Edit

In Formula Renault Eurocup, he did 6 starts with best result of second at Hungaroring, while in the Asian series, he did 4 starts with 2 wins and one second place. His 3rd win of the 4 races was later penalized from jumping the start. He joined BCN Competicion in the GP2 Series to replace Sakon Yamamoto who moved to F1 during the season. During his first race, also at the Hungaroring, he was forced to retire when his left shoulder unexpectedly dislocated after 11 laps, which also prevented him from taking part in the second race of the meeting.[1]

2008Edit

In the 2008 season, Niemelä won the Atlantic Championship with Brooks Associates team, after winning the last two rounds of the season.

2009Edit

Niemelä returned to the series to defend his Atlantic Championship title, this time driving for Newman Wachs Racing. He struggled through the first five races failing to score a podium finish. He switched teams to Jensen MotorSport for the remainder of the season, but failed to find any more success and finished 6th in points.

2010Edit

Niemelä started racing Sprint Cars on dirt ovals. The best result of his depute season was 2nd in a VRA race at Ventura Raceway.

2011Edit

Niemelä raced in selected races in different Sprint Car Championships (USAC West Coast, USAC CRA, VRA, USAC Midget) with an average A Main finish of 4.5 over the season. He also scored his first Sprint Car win.

2014Edit

In November 2014, Niemela suffered a severe accident at Perris Auto Speedway in a sprint car, flipping end over end into the catch fence after an axle broke on his car. While he initially was believed to have suffered only a concussion,[2] he later revealed he had suffered severe brain injuries in the accident, resulting in the end of his career.

Racing recordEdit

Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Points Position
2004 Formula Ford Zetec Finland Team Söderman 2 1 2 2 119 1st
Formula Ford Zetec Sweden ? ? ? ? 106 1st
Formula Ford Zetec Nordic 10 3 0 ? 115 2nd
2005 Formula BMW ADAC Team Rosberg 20 1 1 0 85 7th
Formula Renault 2.0 UK Winter Series Manor Motorsport 3 0 0 0 61 6th
2006 Formula Renault 2.0 UK Mark Burdett Motorsport 20 1 1 1 274 7th
2007 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup BVM Minardi Team 6 0 0 0 20 16th
Asian Formula Renault Challenge March 3 Racing 4 2 1 1 87 11th
GP2 Series BCN Competición 7 0 0 0 0 31st
2008 Atlantic Championship Brooks Associates Racing 11 2 1 0 245 1st
2009 Atlantic Championship Newman Wachs Racing 12 0 0 1 98 6th
2010 AMSOil USAC National Sprint Car Series Kruseman Motorsport 3 0 0 0 0 -
2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West 1 0 0 0 29 69th

Complete GP2 Series resultsEdit

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 DC Points
2007 BCN Competición BHR
FEA
BHR
SPR
CAT
FEA
CAT
SPR
MON
FEA
MAG
FEA
MAG
SPR
SIL
FEA
SIL
SPR
NÜR
FEA
NÜR
SPR
HUN
FEA

Ret
HUN
SPR

DNS
IST
FEA

IST
SPR

MNZ
FEA

9
MNZ
SPR

11
SPA
FEA

11
SPA
SPR

Ret
VAL
FEA

14
VAL
SPR

Ret
31st 0

American open–wheel racing resultsEdit

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Atlantic ChampionshipEdit

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Rank Points
2008 Brooks Associates Racing  
LBH
7
 
LS
4
 
MTT
2
 
EDM1
2
 
EDM2
6
 
ROA1
6
 
ROA2
6
 
TRR
Ret
 
NJ
2
 
UTA
1
 
ATL
1
1st 245
2009 Newman Wachs Racing  
SEB
Ret
 
UTA
Ret
 
NJ1
4
 
NJ2
4
6th 98
Jensen MotorSport  
LIM
9
 
ACC1
Ret
 
ACC2
6
 
MDO
4
 
TRR
5
 
MOS
5
 
ATL
5
 
LS
5

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Bradley, Charles (August 2007). "GP2's new faces suffer on debuts". Autosport. Vol. 189 no. 6. p. 15.
  2. ^ DiZinno, Tony (November 13, 2014). "Markus Niemela OK following massive sprint car accident at Perris". NBC Sports. Retrieved 2016-01-10.

External linksEdit