When Cameron Shields received a phone call from his team manager midway throughout the 2020 US F2000 season, informing him of the team’s decision to give his seat to someone else, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
The Queenslander had started the year off with four consecutive top 10 finishes and was leading the way for Legacy Autosport, but a 12th place during the sixth race of the season seemed to be the trigger to his premature exit.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the 20-year-old, as he was given another chance to finish the season off, but this time he was at the higher ranked DEForce Racing.
Despite a slow start with his new team, Shields shortly found his groove after just three races and improved dramatically, going from a midfield driver to contesting at the front of the grid each race.
Eventually finishing the year in ninth place, Shields ended the season with two podiums, a pole position and many fans as he proved what he was capable of in the right environment.
His best performance undoubtedly came in the season’s penultimate race when he secured top spot in qualifying and led for the most laps, only to suffer electrical issues right at the end. In the weekend's second race, his car suffered more dramas and he finished the season with his two lowest placings in his two seasons there.
It was a cruel way to end a year full of promise, but Shields was still content with his final numbers despite not being able to clinch a race win like he did in 2019.
“The season was quite a strange one, but a very interesting one nonetheless,” Shields said.
“There was the team swap, a few podiums and St Petersburg, which started off fantastic as I topped practice, claimed pole and led the race for the majority of laps, only to lose in the final stages. I feel like I put myself in a good position next year.
“I noticed the big difference between the two teams straight away. For me, working with DEForce went very smoothly because we were on the same page and they really helped my development.
“We got better and better with every race and were thrilled with some podiums. I felt the highlight of the year was St Pete even though it had a bad end. The lowlight was definitely that middle season phone call.
“It all worked out in the end though and moving to DEForce really benefited me as it got me to the front and allowed me to race at every event in 2020 – something I wasn’t able to do the year before.”
With two seasons in the United States under his belt, Shields is now looking towards taking the step up to Indy Pro in 2021.
And whilst he is yet to lock in a deal with an Indy Pro outfit in 2021, Shields remains confident he will be there in 2021.
“I am still open for this year, but certainly aiming for a spot in the Indy Pros this year. That’s my goal,” Shields said.
“That was what I first tested when I came over here and I have plenty of tests in that car over the break, which are going well so I am feeling good.
“We are a couple of months out from the first race so that is what I am working on now.
“Unfortunately it’s a difficult task, but I am hopeful I can pull it off and I think St Petersburg, I might be there.”
Shields is currently in the process of obtaining sponsorship for the 2021 season with the youngster to confirm his 2021 plan in the coming weeks.