2015 Pro Mazda runner-up Alberico joins Carlin for Indy Lights

(Photo: Rising Star Racing)

Last year’s Pro Mazda Championship runner-up Neil Alberico will move up to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires circuit and drive for upstart team Carlin this season.

“Carlin came to the U.S. and immediately proved they could win races,” the 23-year-old Alberico said in a team media release. “They have a winning formula for success, so of course I am happy to be part of that for 2016.

“There will be challenges to adapt to as I learn the nuances of the new car, but driving alongside a pair of experienced teammates will help accelerate the learning process.”

Carlin enters its second season in Indy Lights.

“Neil was a driver who immediately caught our eye least season,” team principal Trevor Carlin said in the release. “From the outset, he looked like one of the drivers to beat and throughout the year he handled himself very well both in and out of the car.”

Alberico, who will team with Ed Jones and Felix Serralles with Carlin, recorded four wins and two poles last season in the Pro Mazda circuit.

“Neil has impressed us already in the small amount of testing he has done with the team,” Carlin said. “We’re really looking forward to seeing him race alongside Ed and Felix in what we believe is a very strong driver line-up.”

Like last season, Alberico – a native of Los Gatos, California – will once again be supported by Rising Star Racing.

“I’m very proud of Neil (Alberico) for taking this next step in his career, and the RSR mission certainly receives a lift when we can work with talented individuals like him,” said Rising Star principal Art Wilmes. “At the end of the day, however, it is our sponsors that make it all happen. Without their interest in motorsports, our drivers would be sitting on the sidelines.”

Alberico and his new teammates will test Tuesday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

James Black/Penske Entertainment

The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.