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Colton Herta sets record as youngest Indy Lights winner at St. Pete

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – “HertaMania 2.0” is a winner in his first weekend in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.

Colton Herta is just 16 years old and turns 17 on March 30, but the son of two-time Indianapolis 500-winning car owner and a star driver in his own right, Bryan Herta, has delivered his first career victory in only his second start in the series, a day after coming second on Saturday to fellow series rookie and Pro Mazda champion Aaron Telitz. Interestingly, Bryan Herta won the 1993 Indy Lights title some seven years before Colton was even born.

The younger Herta started from pole in today’s race at St. Petersburg (airs March 18 on NBCSN) and completed a flag-to-flag victory in the 45-lap, one-hour race, driving the No. 98 Deltro Energy-backed Dallara IL-15 Mazda for Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing, near the Steinbrenner family’s spring home of Tampa.

Herta had to defend against last season’s Indy Lights runner-up Santiago Urrutia in his No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing car, which is sporting Arrow signage on the sidepods this weekend, on the restarts. Urrutia got close a couple times but was never able to make a proper move, Herta largely defending to the inside to keep the lead.

The win today followed a passing exhibition on Saturday where Herta made several successful moves to the inside at Turn 1 to advance from fifth on the grid up to second. This caps off a week where Herta threw the first pitch at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday for the New York Yankees spring training game and is now two-for-two on podium finishes.

Herta raced in Europe the last two seasons and won a handful of races with the Carlin team, but was excited to return home to racing in North America this year.

Urrutia was second for his first podium of the weekend, rebounding after damage sustained on the first lap yesterday knocked him back to 13th, while Pato O’Ward delivered a sterling drive to third for Team Pelfrey. Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) and Saturday winner Telitz completed the top five.

Bryan Sellers aims to be first Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Champion

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Bryan Sellers will leave the familiar confines of his Paul Miller Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and head into the unknown in 2019.

At the age of 36, Sellers has 25 years of competitive racing behind him and is turning his attention to the battery-powered Jaguar I-PACE sedan that he will driver for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – something he describes as “the way of the future.”

Racing for Ohio native Bobby Rahal, it is a connection that brings him home to his roots. Sellers was born in Centerville, Ohio. 

“I’m very proud to be a part of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” Sellers said in a press release. “I grew up in Ohio watching Bobby (Rahal) win races and build an incredible racing program and it will be nice to finally get to see it from the inside.”

Sellers’ electric-powered Jaguar won’t have the same horsepower as the V10 Lamborghini that he steered to victory in the 2018 IMSA Weather Tech Sports Car championship with co-driver Madison Snow and Katherine Legge.

At his heart, Sellers is a  racer chasing a championship and it’s not the horsepower but the potential for close competition that drives him. Next year, he has an opportunity to win the first ever Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Championship.

In 2016, Jaguar joined the Formula E series. Now they are looking to make history with the world’s first all-electric production-based international race series that will compete at 10 venues next year in support of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

The series’ 10 venues will be international, racing on tracks in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, China, Italy, Mexico, France, Monaco, Germany and the USA, which will showcase electric cars on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, in July.

“Electric cars are clearly the way of the future and to be involved with the first electric production car racing series is very important to me,” Sellers said. “I’m very thankful to everyone at RLL and Jaguar for giving me this opportunity.”

Sellers raced fulltime in the American LeMans Series from 2005 through 2013 – amassing four victories and two other podium finishes. In 30 career races in the Grand-Am Series, he added three more visits to the podium.

But it was last year that was clearly the highlight for Sellers. For the second time in his career, he scored multiple wins in a series (Sellers had two wins in ALMS in 2011), but he stood on the podium eight times in addition to winning the championship.

Joining Sellers in the I-PACE eTROPHY Championship Jaguar next year will be Legge, who was one of his co-drivers in 2018.

“Experience, maturity and pace are very important qualities that I was looking for when we chose our driver lineup,” said Rahal, the former IndyCar Champion and Indy 500 winner.

The series will kickoff with the Formula E season-opener in Riyadh on December 15, 2018. They will not run in conjunction with the next two Formula E rounds and will rejoin for most of the remainder of the 2019 season.