Two more names have been confirmed to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires lineup for the 2017 season, with one driver back for his fourth season and another coming over for his first one.
The BRDC British F3 champion, 19-year-old Brazilian driver Matheus Leist, will come Stateside for Carlin after winning four races and edging Ricky Collard for last year’s title. He’s also tested in GP3.
“I’m very excited to be joining Carlin in Indy Lights” said Leist. “I had quite a few options open to me in 2017, but a combination of things, including the opportunities in the US and on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, made Indy Lights a great option for me. I have raced against Carlin before so I know how hard they push as a team to win. I’m incredibly excited to get out on track in the car and get the season underway.”
Juan Piedrahita, meanwhile, will be back for a full-time campaign with Team Pelfrey. Piedrahita ran the full 2014 and 2015 seasons and most of 2016 before withdrawing with a few races remaining.
“We are extremely happy to welcome Juan back to Team Pelfrey IL for the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires,” said Pelfrey team manager, Gary Neal. “We built a lot of momentum in post 2016 season testing with Juan and I am sure we will see some great results this season.”
Neil Alberico (Carlin) and Garett Grist (Pelfrey) have also tested for those teams in preparation for the season, and Aaron Telitz (Belardi Auto Racing) has also done a wealth of testing for that team. None of those three have been formally confirmed for 2017 as yet.
This brings the confirmed number of drivers to 11 with three to four more expected to be named, and an estimated 14-15 cars for the St. Petersburg season opener.
The Indy Lights grid so far:
- Carlin: Garth Rickards, Matheus Leist
- Andretti Autosport: Dalton Kellett, Nico Jamin, Ryan Norman
- Andretti Steinbrenner Racing: Colton Herta
- Belardi Auto Racing: Santiago Urrutia, Shelby Blackstock
- Juncos Racing: Kyle Kaiser, Nicolas Dapero
- Team Pelfrey: Juan Piedrahita