Are you looking to keep track of who’s racing with whom in the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder? Well, you’re in luck.
Hit the jump to read about each of the Indy Lights drivers who have committed early for the 2012 season.
The following is an update of early signings for the 2012 junior formula open-wheel racing season. All have been previously documented on JuniorOpenWheelTalent.com’s Twitter account. So, if you want to make sure you’re getting the latest open-wheel news; follow here.
This is the third and final edition of a three-part series featuring Road to Indy signing updates. Read about early commits in the USF2000 and Star Mazda series, using the links. Future updates will be posted on the main page.
Alon Day – Belardi Auto Racing
- Day is the first Indy Lights signing for Belardi in 2012. He will become the first Israeli driver in Series’ history when taking the green flag in St. Pete, not to mention the first race driver from Israel to compete in America. Day, 20, won the 2009 Asian Formula Renault Championship and has spent the last two years in the ATS Formula 3 championship.
- Goncalvez will return for his sophomore season in 2012 after proving he belongs near the front of the pack during his rookie campaign. He should be a driver to watch in 2012, having come on strong toward the end of 2011. He drove much of the season injured while recovering from a broken leg. The Venezuelan driver finished on the podium in four of the final five races last season with a season-best finish of second-place at New Hampshire after starting fifth. Watch for good things from Goncalvez as he brings a year of experience back to Belardi Auto Racing.
- Ebrahim will join the Indy Lights series in 2012 driving for Fan Force United. The 22-year-old native of India has a significant amount of experience at various junior formula levels. He spent the last two years in the FIA Formula Two Championship earning one podium finish. His most successful season came in 2006 when he finished runner-up to James Winslow in the Formula Renault V6 Asia championship totaling five wins and eight podium finishes in 12 starts.
- Carbone will return with Sam Schmidt Motorsports for his sophomore season in the series. The 2010 F2000 Championship Series champion (6 wins) used 2011 as a learning year and did a nice job developing his craft in FIL. He won the Series’ finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and finished the year with two podiums, both coming in the latter half of the season. He had three DNFs in the first half and only one in the second portion of the season. Watch for continued improvement in ’12.
- Frenchman Tristan Vautier will look to continue his climb up the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder in 2012 as he graduates to Indy Lights, following a championship-winning Star Mazda season marked by incredible consistency: he finished all 11 races inside the top five. Vautier proved his readiness by topping the time charts during his foray into Indy Lights competition (1:20.0061) in the two-day Road to Indy Chris Griffis Memorial test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With continued speed and consistency, Vautier could easily be considered an early favorite for the crown.
- Englishman Oliver Webb will return to Indy Lights in 2012 after completing four races last year with Jensen MotorSports — earning a best finish of third (his debut race) at Edmonton after starting 11th. He balanced his time between Lights and the World Series by Renault FR 3.5 car. In 2009-10, Webb showed great promise while driving for Fortec in the Formula Renault UK Championship (3rd) and British F3-International (3rd). Teaming up with SSM is a good move for Webb. He should be fun to watch in ’12.
- Canadian David Ostella, like Jorge Goncalvez, will return to Indy Lights for a sophomore campaign after graduating from Star Mazda in 2010. The 20-year-old racer will look to rebound from a DNF-riddled rookie year in Lights competition which saw him earn a season-best finish of fourth in his first start (St. Pete) after qualifying 11th. He will join Team Moore this season who helped guide Gustavo Yacaman to a fourth-place finish in the 2011 championship.
- Rodin Younessi will move up to Indy Lights this season as a team owner and driver, having run in the USF2000 National Championship in 2011 with the guidance of JDC MotorSports (running under Younessi Racing). The 42-year-old driver finished with a season-best finish of fourth place in the National Class (once at Mid-Ohio and twice at Road America). Additionally, he ran two F2000 Championship races at Mid-Ohio. Indy Lights will be a huge jump.