The 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Grid continues to come together, as Carlin Racing announced a new driver while Team Pelfrey announced a re-signing of a driver from last year.
Carlin Racing will bring a new face to the Mazda Road to Indy Program, as reigning BRDC British F3 Champion Matheus Leist will be behind the wheel of one of the team’s Indy Lights entries for 2017.
“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.”
The 18-year-0ld makes the trip to the United States after success in both Formula 3 and Formula 4. In his rookie season of Formula 4 competition in 2015, he scored two wins en route to finishing fifth in the points. Then last year in Formula 3, he scored four wins and 11 podiums en route to the championship.
It appeared as though the he’d be headed to GP3, having taken part in the official test in Abu Dhabi with speeds within the top-five, however now there’s a change in the sails.
“We have raced against Matheus for the last two seasons now, and have witnessed first hand his race craft and raw speed,” Trevor Carlin said. “Now we have chance to work together, it will be great to have those talents within the team rather than trying to beat them! Indy Lights will certainly be a new environment for Matheus and a steep learning curve, but he has the ability and more importantly, the calm and determined nature to overcome these challenges. I’m very excited to see what we can achieve together in 2017.”
Meanwhile, Team Pelfrey announced Juan Piedrahita will be back with the team this season. He drove the No. 2 Petrosur/Team Pelfrey Dallara to six top-10 finishes last season. It’ll mark his fourth season of Indy Lights competition.
“I couldn’t be happier to rejoin Team Pelfrey for the 2017 Indy Lights season. After working with the crew last year, I knew it was the right fit coming into this year,” said the Colombian. “Gary [Neal] and Yves [Touron] have given me a lot of confidence and they always have a very competitive car at every track. We are going be extremely competitive this year and for sure we are going to seal the deal in the Freedom 100.”
“We are extremely happy to welcome Juan back to Team Pelfrey IL for the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires,” stated 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.”
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