Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Piedrahita confirmed as Team Pelfrey’s first Indy Lights driver

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Juan Piedrahita will return to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series for a third season, now with Team Pelfrey for the team’s maiden voyage in its first full season.

The 23-year-old Colombian will also be with his third different team in as many years.

“Team Pelfrey has a rich history in fielding great Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires cars,” Piedrahita said. “When I found out they would have an Indy Lights team, I knew they were going to be a top contender.”

Piedrahita ran in 2014 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and in 2015 with Belardi Auto Racing. He scored his first career podium finish at the Milwaukee Mile last year, when he finished third.

In 30 career starts, Piedrahita has four top-five finishes. He’s also spent a couple years in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires so he’s been a longtime staple of the Mazda Road to Indy.

Pawco, a company that makes innovative pet products in the United States, and Petrosur are the two major sponsors for Piedrahita.

“I’m very excited to have Pawco as a new partner for this season. I am happy to carry their paw logo on the car and join them in dog adoption campaigns. We also have Petrosur as a partner for one more year. They have been backing my career for more than ten years, and I am very grateful to have them one more year.”

For more information on Team Pelfrey’s hopes and insight into the Gary Neal-led, Dale Pelfrey-owned team, check out a feature on the team from last month.

Here’s the confirmed Indy Lights lineup as it stands:

  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (2): RC Enerson, Santiago Urrutia
  • Andretti Autosport (2): Shelby Blackstock, Dalton Kellett
  • Carlin (3): Ed Jones, Felix Serralles, Neil Alberico
  • Juncos Racing (2): Kyle Kaiser, Zachary Claman Demelo
  • Belardi Auto Racing (1): Zach Veach
  • Team Pelfrey (1): Juan Piedrahita

Figure Schmidt will add two more cars, Belardi one more car, with Andretti and/or Carlin with the potential to add one more to their already announced drivers. Pelfrey may also add a second car.

Dan Ticktum wins crash-marred FIA F3 World Cup in Macau

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Overshadowed by a horrific crash involving Sophia Floersch was the fact that 19-year-old Dan Ticktum dominated and won the Macau Grand Prix – a victory that puts him closer to earning the superlicence required to allow him to race with Formula 1, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Ticktum won Macau’s qualification race as well as the Grand Prix, starting first in both events. For his victories, he earned 10 points, which combined with 25 for his runner-up finish in the European F3 Championship leaves him just five below the 40 needed for the license.

This was Ticktum’s second Macau Grand Prix victory.

“It was a dominant performance that I was preparing for,” Ticktum said on his web site. “I don’t think I’ve ever prepared as hard as I did for this race and it all worked out. In the final race a lot of variables were thrown at me but I handled them.”

On his way to victory lane, Ticktum had to survive several restarts including the lengthy red flag period following Floersch’s accident to repair the barrier.

“I can’t count how many safety car restarts we had to do,” Ticktum said. “It puts a lot of pressure on a driver here with such a long run down to the first corner. I can’t remember a weekend when I’ve put it all together so well.

“The car was absolutely perfect all weekend, it was so good and I can’t thank Motopark enough for that. I’ve never been so involved in the set-up, felt so at one with the car as I did this weekend.”