It was officially announced this morning that Petri Suvanto will join Team Pelfrey for the 2012 Star Mazda Championship, completing the team’s already-potent roster.
Suvanto, who won the 2011 USF2000 National Championship in dominating fashion with five wins, will join Gustavo Menezes and Jack Hawksworth in the three-car Pelfrey camp.
The 19-year-old driver is currently at home in Finland where he is completing his mandatory military National Service, but is looking forward to a return to North America and auto racing.
“Moving up to Star Mazda isn’t going to be easy, but I’m welcoming the challenge with open arms,” Suvanto said in a team release. “The theme of the year is learning, and the more I learn the better the results are going to be. Things have changed a lot over the last 12 months. Last year at this time I was wondering whether I would be able to ever race again, but from the moment I learned about the Mazda Road to Indy, I knew what I wanted. It worked out pretty well. 2011 changed my life and I’m very thankful to all the people who were part of it, especially everyone at Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing [his USF2000 team]. Now it’s time to start a new chapter full of new challenges. I’m already counting the days until the first race.”
Suvanto makes the jump to Star Mazda as a reward for winning the 2011 USF2000 National Championship, thanks to funding provided by the Mazda Road to Indy scholarship ladder. Last fall, he showcased his adaptability by touring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with speeds capable of producing a top lap time (within the top-3 both days), during the Chris Griffis Memorial Road to Indy test.
Suvanto is an excellent signing for Team Pelfrey and the combination could, indeed, produce a championship season.