Two of the teams within the Mazda Road to Indy will come together for the 2016 season, as Team Pelfrey will absorb 8Star Motorsports next season.
Pelfrey has acquired all of the assets of 8Star Motorsports including the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires team and will expand the program to two cars for 2016.
It will bring the Pro Mazda-winning team into Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires for the second straight year, as Juncos Racing moved up last year, and with a two-car effort.
It combines the resources of two Florida-based teams; Palmetto-based Team Pelfrey, led by Nigel Tuckey, had a monster effort in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires championship this year with three cars, including one fielded for series champion Santiago Urrutia.
It also ran four cars in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, all rookie drivers who punched above their weight at times during the season.
Pompano Beach, Fla.-based 8Star Motorsports has starred in sports cars and in a partial Indy Lights campaign this year, with Sean Rayhall driving. Rayhall won twice in just seven starts.
8Star team manager Gary Neal will continue in the same role for Pelfrey’s Indy Lights program, and the current 8Star crew will continue to operate the Indy Lights team out of their Pompano Beach, Fla. Headquarters. All Team Pelfrey teams will be run in conjunction with each other, offering transparency in diverse operations.
“I am really excited to have the opportunity to build the Indy Lights team with Team Pelfrey,” says Neal. “Since my Engineer, Yves Touron, and mechanics are staying in placewith the new team I am sure we will be a contender for the Indy Lights Championship in 2016. It is a pleasure to work with such a passionate team owner as Dale Pelfrey.”
“After watching the development and success of our F1600, USF2000 and Pro Mazda teams this season, I decided Team Pelfrey should take the next step,” said Dale Pelfrey.
“Rather than start from ground zero, we researched the market and quickly realized that absorbing the great people and resources at 8Star Motorsports was the best way possible to enter Indy Lights with Team Pelfrey. We will be entering the 2016 season with an already proven race winning package and cannot wait to get started.”
With the addition, Team Pelfrey becomes the largest operating open-wheel development team in North America and one of the largest teams in the world. Beginning with the F1600, drivers will learn their trade in this proven category before graduating to the Mazda Road to Indy where Team Pelfrey will now have a prominent presence on every step of the ladder.
Rayhall, in theory, would seem to be an obvious driving candidate for one of the two Lights seats, and as Spencer Pigot did last year, Urrutia now has an Indy Lights landing place should he choose to continue with the team and with his Mazda scholarship for his graduation.