Santiago Urrutia joins Belardi Auto Racing for 2017 Indy Lights season

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2016 Indy Lights championship runner-up Santiago Urrutia will return to the series next year with Belardi Auto Racing.

Urrutia, 20, moved into Indy Lights with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports last year after winning the Pro Mazda title in 2015, having previously plied his trade in Europe.

Urrutia took three race wins en route to second place in the Indy Lights championship in 2016, losing the title on the final lap of the season when Ed Jones made a pass on Carlin teammate Felix Serralles to secure enough points for P1 in the standings.

Belardi Auto Racing confirmed on Friday that Urrutia would be joining the team for the 2017 Indy Lights season, driving the No. 5 Dallara IL-15 alongside Shelby Blackstock.

“We have a really strong crew and I believe that we are going to have one of the greatest teams in the paddock,” Urrutia said.

“I am very happy to sign with Belardi, as I was fighting with the team’s drivers all year in 2016. I have only one goal, and that is to win the championship, and I am going to try to win every race for the team.

“If I can’t win, I’ll be aiming for seconds and thirds, whatever I need to win the title. What happened at Laguna Seca in the finale is now in the past, and I am looking at the future.

“I have to thank all of my fans, my engineer, my sponsors in Uruguay and I want to thank Brian Belardi for believing in me.”

“We’re extremely excited to being adding Santi to our stable of drivers for the 2016 season,” Belardi added.

“We’re coming off a really strong season and our staff is highly motivated to make 2017 even better. Signing a driver of Santi’s caliber will once again put us into the fight for a championship.

“The entire team is fired up with the announcements of Santiago and Shelby and we’re hoping to confirm a third driver early in the new year.”