[Source: Belardi Auto Racing press release]
BROWNSBURG, IND. (March 12, 2014) – Belardi Auto Racing are excited to confirm Gabby Chaves for the 2014 edition of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. The motorsports rising star joins the race-winning squad for the full 14-race campaign as the top returning title contender, having finished as the series runner-up as a rookie one year ago. As part of a multi-car effort, Chaves is focused on adding to his and the Indiana-based team’s victory tally right from the get go, and fighting for the championship crown until the final checkered flag.
When the upcoming Indy Lights campaign gets underway in a few weeks time on the streets of St. Petersburg, Belardi Auto Racing will have one goal in mind…battling for top honors. The Brownsburg, Ind., squad is poised to do just that with the addition of the 20 year-old Chaves to its skilled line-up.
Chaves will contest his second season of Indy Lights action as one of the drivers everyone will be keeping an eye on, given his junior formula car championship-winning resume, and his run of success behind the wheel as a series rookie in 2013.
“I am very happy and honored to be part of Belardi Auto Racing,” stated Chaves. “They have the motivation and desire to win, which is the most important thing, and they have the crew and the cars to get the job done. I can’t thank Brian Belardi and the whole team enough for this great opportunity they are giving me and the trust they have placed in me, as well as my sponsors Marca Colombia and Coldeportes for their continued support. I look forward to a great season, winning many races, and the Indy Lights championship this year.”
First getting behind the wheel of an open-wheel car at the age of 13, he quickly made his mark, winning a Skip Barber Racing Shootout scholarship, Colombian Grand Prix Formula Renault 2000 title, and finishing as the Skip Barber Eastern Regional Series runner-up. Chaves proceeded to record 17 consecutive Skip Barber Racing wins en route taking home the 2006-07 Skip Barber Regional Southern Series title and leading the Skip Barber National Series, before making the switch to Formula BMW competition. A Formula BMW Americas title followed in 2009, prior to making the transition to Europe, where Chaves took home the Italian Formula 3 Championship Rookie of the Year award and raced in the GP3 Series. Chaves returned to North America in 2012, joining the Mazda Road to Indy program via the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, finishing as the series runner-up. The highly-regarded up-and-comer continued his run of form in 2013, scoring one win and 10 podium finishes in Indy Lights en route to a second consecutive championship runner-up finish as a rookie.
Backed by Coldeportes and Marca Colombia, Chaves will now be part of a potent multi-car effort under the Belardi Auto Racing awning, joining the previously signed rookie Alex Baron. The duo has the opportunity to further establish the team as a leading force in the last rung of the Mazda Road to Indy program.
Belardi Auto Racing enters the 2014 season with momentum building, having captured its initial series win via a record-breaking run at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway last May. Adding two more trips to the post-race podium before the close of the season, the team has further showcased its speed and skill in the lead up to this coming season. Belardi Auto Racing topped the charts in the year-end Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test, with Baron quickest at the end of the two-day outing at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. The run of form has continued in further official series testing, with Chaves posting the second fastest time after two days of action at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, than going quickest at the end of two test days at NOLA Motorsports Park outside of New Orleans, and being second best once again in a return two-day outing at Barber Motorsports Park.
The quest for Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires supremacy gets underway for Belardi Auto Racing and its up-and-coming duo of Chaves and Baron on March 30, with race one as part of the IZOD IndyCar Series season-opening event on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.