Championship-winning Mazda Road to Indy squad increased driver line-up with addition of talented Columbian
BROWNSBURG, IN – The 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season was packed with incredible highlights for Brian Belardi and his Belardi Auto Racing squad. While a championship awaited their arrival in Sonoma in August, the journey to the crown featured some prestigious race wins, including high-profile victories in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Pocono, and of course, the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis in May. With the Indy Lights championship trophy now a fixture in the team’s Brownsburg, IN shop, the focus quickly turned to the new Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15 and confirming their drivers for the 2015 campaign. Felix Serralles was the first to join the squad, and now Belardi is pleased to announce that he has filled another seat on his championship-winning race team with series sophomore Juan Piedrahita. The Colombian will have his name on the second of the squad’s new Dallaras, having finished seventh overall in the Indy Lights series last year with a top finish of fifth at both Mid-Ohio and Sonoma. Piedrahita will join Serralles in running Belardi’s trademark red and white livery, with sponsorship from Petrosur and Marca Columbia.
“I have a great deal of excitement for the new year, and like any team owner who’s won a championship, I just want more,” Belardi commented. “Juan has been such a steady driver throughout his Mazda Road to Indy career and I’m really excited to see what he’ll be able to do in our car this season. We expect that he’ll make huge gains in his second year in the series. Yes, it’s a brand new car, but he’s been to the tracks now and is accustomed to the higher speeds from Pro Mazda.”
Piedrahita entered the Mazda Road to Indy in 2011, finishing seventh overall in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, coming off a season in the Star Mazda Championship in 2010. The native of Bogota posted a pair of podium finishes in both of the oval races that year – Lucas Oil Raceway and the Milwaukee Mike – showing his prowess in speedway competition. He moved to the inaugural Andersen Promotions-run Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2012 and again finished seventh overall, scoring five top-five finishes, including two runner-up finishes in St. Petersburg and Toronto. For the first time in his career, Piedrahita returned to a program for a second season and as a Pro Mazda sophomore in 2013, he was able to score six top-fives and again impressed at Milwaukee, finishing second to the eventual series champion. Last year, he graduated to the Indy Lights program and was hit with a steep learning curve, as was his team, thanks to the introduction of new dampers and new tires. Juan improved steadily and capped the season with four straight top-seven finishes that included a pair of fop-fives in Mid-Ohio and Sonoma.
“I am very excited to come back to Indy Lights for another year,” offered Piedrahita, who also receives support from Coldeportes and FCAD. “I’m happy to announce that I will be joining the Belardi family for the 2015 season. I’m very grateful that Brian Belardi has given me this opportunity, and it looks like I have some big shoes to fill, those of my friend, Gabby Chaves. In regards to the new Dallara, I can’t wait to drive it. The new car is very similar to the DW12 and it will help us in preparation for the next step.”
The team is preparing to participate in the official series road course test on January 26-27 at the 2.21-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway, and will remain at the facility to tackle the 1.5-mile banked oval on January 29. You can keep up-to-date on all of the team’s news and information by following them on Twitter (@BelardiRacing) or via their Facebook page (facebook.com/BelardiAutoRacing).
Additional information on Belardi Auto Racing can be obtained from their website - BelardiAutoRacing.com.
### About Belardi Auto Racing:
Belardi Auto Racing is an organization comprised of experienced individuals in the racing industry with an aggressive growth strategy and a strong commitment to finishing up front. No stranger to winning, team members having been achieving success in both the amateur and pro ranks for over a decade, winning numerous junior formula car races and championships. Based in Brownsburg, Ind., Belardi Auto Racing won the 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship and has scored race wins in both Indy Lights and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered By Mazda.