INDIANAPOLIS - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ 2015 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires driver lineup is starting to take shape, with Ethan Ringel signing as the first confirmed driver.
Ringel, 20, a native of Windermere, Florida, competed in the Atlantic Championship Series in 2014, earning seven podium finishes. He tested with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) in an Indy Lights car in 2013 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
“It’s time for me to step up to Indy Lights in 2015, and there’s no better team to drive for in the series than Schmidt Peterson Motorsports,” Ringel said. “They have talented mechanics and engineers, and their winning record speaks volumes.”
Before his stint in the Atlantic Championship Series, Ringel made 16 starts in the GP3 Series, which supports Formula One rounds in Europe. The lure of racing in North America in the brand-new AER-powered Dallara IL-15 cars brought him back home.
“I held off on Indy Lights last year because I wanted to wait for the new car,” Ringel said. “The old car had a soft suspension that I didn’t love, and the new car suits my driving style so much more. I can’t wait to get in these beautiful new cars to see what I can do. The specs look fantastic.”
SPM team owner Sam Schmidt has noticed building interest in the new car from an assortment of drivers in several European series.
“The response to the introduction of the new Indy Lights car has been tremendous,” Schmidt said. “We need to continue cultivating corporate support of young up-and-coming American drivers, but I’ve seen a huge increase of interest in our series from European and South American drivers. We now have a race car and series that is on par with any development series in Europe.”
Ringel was attracted to SPM by its seven Indy Lights championships. But he also was encouraged to check out the team by his driving coach, former SPM Indy Lights driver and series champion Jay Howard.
“Early on in my karting days I used to spend four days each week with Jay learning every nuance he could possibly teach me about racing,” Ringel said. “As my career progressed, Jay pointed me in the direction of SPM, and it’s really cool to think I’m going to the same team where my mentor made a name for himself in the racing community.”
SPM and Ringel will begin preparations for the 2015 season at the Indy Lights Open Test Dec. 16-17 at Palm Beach International Raceway. For the latest team updates during the offseason, follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.