Open-wheel notes: Latorre confirmed in Pro Mazda, other Indy/track tidbits

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Several news items related to the Verizon IndyCar Series or Mazda Road to Indy have come in rapid succession this morning. Here’s a quick run through of them:

LATORRE CONFIRMED FOR CAPE IN PRO MAZDA

Florian Latorre will follow the same path as Scott Hargrove in 2015. The Frenchman will emulate the Canadian in moving up from USF2000 into Pro Mazda with the same team, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.

Latorre, who turns 18 in April, replaces Hargrove for the 2015 season. He’ll team with the previously announced Daniel Burkett, and drive the No. 3 entry featuring MAZDASPEED signage and support.

“I signed with Cape Motorsports because this is a team with whom I had a great year with in USF2000,” Latorre said. “They are very professional in their work, and they are very competent. I love working with them always in the pursuit of excellence and perfection to win. In 2015, I have the goal of winning the Pro Mazda Championship, and I know that is possible with Cape Motorsports.”

TIMOTHY PLAN INVESTS IN JONATHAN BYRD RACING

One of the rare Indianapolis 500-only entries already confirmed for 2015 has a quick bit of news out. Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, which is running Bryan Clauson in conjunction with Indianapolis 500 Champion team KVSH Racing, has announced a partnership with the Timothy Plan Family of Mutual Funds as Jonathan Byrd’s Racing’s investment vehicle of choice.

This is a renewed relationship with the Jonathan Byrd’s Racing team, as the Timothy Plan first appeared on the team’s IndyCars in the late 1990s.

HONDA INDY, TORONTO STAR ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP

Organizers of the Honda Indy Toronto today announced a new three-year sponsorship agreement with the Toronto Star that will see Canada’s largest daily as the official newspaper partner for the event through 2017.

Noteworthy here isn’t so much the sponsorship agreement as the length. Toronto is moving dates for the 2015 season from its usual July date up to June, per the Pan-Am Games. But the confirmation of a three-year sponsorship agreement is good news as it confirms the length of the event beyond 2015, given the one-year date adjustment.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.