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Alfonso Celis Jr. signs up for 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 season

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Force India junior Alfonso Celis Jr. will race full-time in the World Series Formula V8 3.5 championship this year with Fortec Motorsport.

Celis, 21, made his debut in the 3.5 litre series when it still ran under the Renault banner back in 2014, and scored his first podium with AVF at Spa last year en route to 11th place in the championship.

Besides his full-time racing commitments, the Mexican worked as Force India’s test driver throughout 2016, taking part in six Formula 1 practice sessions through the year.

On Friday, Celis confirmed that he would be returning for a third full campaign in Formula V8 3.5, which will race as a ‘world series’ next year and support a number of FIA World Endurance Championship rounds.

“I am so happy to be re-joining Fortec Motorsports,” Celis said.

“They were my number one team choice for 2017 and I look forward to sharing great success with them next season.”

“It is great to have the Fonz back with us!” Fortec team manager Jamie Dye added.

“We had a great year of 2.0 together in 2013 – he is a great kid.

“We had a good test in the 3.5 car recently, so we are ready to take on the championship in 2017.”

MRTI: Telitz gets creative to help racing career

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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To say that Belardi Auto Racing’s Aaron Telitz has endured a difficult start to the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season would be an understatement. The Wisconsin native only completed four corners through the first three races – Races 1 and 2 at St. Petersburg, and Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park – with St. Pete being especially problematic.

He took the pole for Race 1, but a crash during qualifying for Race 2 prevented him from actually starting. What’s more, the damage was so severe that the Belardi team needed a brand new chassis, with Telitz’s Dallara IL-15 damaged beyond repair.

They also had to borrow a car from Carlin for Race 2, but Telitz’s race ended after he got tangled up with Victor Franzoni in Turn 2 on Lap 1.

With the damage bill well into the six figures as a result, Telitz has taken to some unique, or rather, creative ways to raise money in the aftermath to help cover the costs. “Creative,” in this case, meaning Telitz is using his art skills.

An artist in his spare time, Telitz has begun selling his own original paintings to help raise money.

 “I’ve been to a lot of art shows and I see stuff and I go, ‘Holy cow, someone’s going to pay a thousand dollars for that thing?’” Telitz quipped in a story posted on the Milwaukee Journal.

In discussing his artistic abilities, Telitz added, “I’m working at getting better. I’d like to be able to paint some animals, those types of things. I got a request from Alexander Rossi to see if I could paint his dog. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet.”

Further, in a partnership with The Styled Garage, Telitz is selling his own merchandise, and accepting donations, to help his cause.

Telitz finished fourth in Race 2 at Barber on Sunday, and sits seventh in the Indy Lights championship, 59 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.