Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Juncos Racing Inks Four

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted December 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm Signing, Star Mazda

Juncos Racing has completed their 2011 Star Mazda driver line-up before the New Year. Joining the team for 2011 will be Tatiana Calderon, Martin Scuncio, Joao Horto and Gustavo Menezes.

The Florida-based team won the 2010 championship with Conor Daly behind the wheel.

This year’s crop of Juncos’ drivers has a ton of potential and will begin a rigorous testing program shortly. The drivers will have the opportunity to log some track time aboard their Star Mazda machines at Sebring during the USF2000 Winterfest stop on Jan. 3. It’s likely that Spencer Pigot and Zach Veach will also be testing their Andretti Autosport Star Mazda cars at the same time.

Here’s a look at the 2011 Juncos’ recruits…

Tatiana Calderon – Calderon will return for her sophomore season with Juncos Racing after being named JOWT’s 2010 Star Mazda Unsung Hero for her impressive rookie performance. The 17-year-old Colombian had five top-10 results in 2010.

Martin Scuncio – Scuncio, 19, spent 2010 in the USF2000 National Championship where he finished sixth in the drivers’ championship, thanks to five top-five finishes. He made his Star Mazda debut with Juncos Racing on Oct. 1 at Road Atlanta, where he finished an impressive fourth. His near-podium finish is likely a sign of things to come.

Joao Horto – Brazilian driver Joao Horto will return to the Star Mazda Championship in 2011 after finishing seventh in 2010 while driving for Team Apex. Horto, 20, was incredibly fast during the first portion of the year but seemed to struggle through the latter part of the season. He completed the year with nine top-10 finishes, including a runner-up result at St. Petersburg. If he’s able to add consistency to his speed, he could be a championship favorite.

Gustavo Menezes – Normally, I’d be all over this signing saying, “This is too big of a jump.” But, in this case, I’m not so sure it is. I’ve been watching Menezes for years in karts and the kid is plain fast. Here’s what I wrote about him during my recent trip to the SuperNats:

Menezes utilizes slow hands, good rolling speed and he’s very patient through the corner.  Very smooth.

All of the mentioned skills will aid his transition to cars. Menezes is the first to admit that the jump from karts to a Star Mazda machine is a big step. That said, I think the talented 16-year-old will surprise a few people this season. He’s already tested with Juncos — once that I know of — and, by all reports, it was very successful. Juncos has done a nice job developing young drivers in the past and there is no reason to believe they won’t do the same with Gustavo.

Gustavo Menezes at the SKUSA SuperNationals XIV
(Photo: JuniorOpenWheelTalent.com)
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9 Comments

  1. Doug on December 23, 2010 6:06 pm

    Is Gustavo part of the Red Bull development program, or are they just a personal sponsor of his?

  2. CRGguy on December 25, 2010 11:13 am

    Possible poser.I checked Red Bull site and found nothing on this driver?

  3. Ryan on December 25, 2010 12:46 pm

    I believe they are a personal sponsor.

  4. NaBUru38 on December 26, 2010 1:32 pm

    I believe that Star Mazda should require at least a full season of formula car experience to all its drivers. A karter should better do some F2000 before.

  5. Doug on December 27, 2010 11:00 pm

    NaBUru38, why do you say that? Kimi went straight from karts to F1 and won a world driving championship. If he can handle the car, I say let him race.

  6. Jeffrey on December 28, 2010 10:11 am

    Doug, think you have your facts wrong regarding Kimi – He did one full year of open-wheel testing, followed by a year of Formula Renault, then made the move to F1. It’s not a question of whether he can handle the car or not, but rather about career momentum and what happens if you don’t aquire the results you wanted in a certain period of time. Why jump in at the top when you have the chance to develop along the ladder?

  7. CRGguy on December 28, 2010 7:14 pm

    I guess nobody HAS to follow the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system.

  8. crgsuxz on January 2, 2011 2:12 pm

    It is so sad to read the comments that you write CRGguy just to see the word poser means you are an inmature kid. Look up gustavo on any website of any brand you see on his driving gear and his name is there, dont have a small brain and look him up in redbull international not usa! So stop trying to sound smart and say BS…

  9. Senor on January 6, 2011 7:02 pm

    You sound like such a little league parent.

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