[Source: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports press release]
INDIANAPOLIS (March 14, 2014) – Juan Piedrahita, a 21-year-old from Bogota, Colombia, will advance to the final rung of the Mazda Road to Indy to race in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series in 2014 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM).
Piedrahita embarked on the first step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system in 2011 with a season of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in which he collected two podiums and finished seventh in the championship.
In 2012, he climbed to the second step of the ladder system with a full season in Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires. In his first full season of Pro Mazda competition, he earned a podium finish in Toronto and finished seventh in the championship. During his second Pro Mazda season in 2013, Piedrahita finished second at the Milwaukee Mile and also collected four third-place finishes.
“After two successful full seasons in Pro Mazda, I feel that I’m ready to take another step and race in Indy Lights,” Piedrahita said. “And it doesn’t get any better than to take this big step with a championship-winning team like Schmidt Peterson Motorsports!”
SPM team owner Sam Schmidt is confident Piedrahita’s years of development in USF2000 and Pro Mazda will enable him to compete at a high level in Indy Lights.
“We have watched Juan progress through the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system, and he’s ready to advance to Indy Lights,” Schmidt said. “Although he is a rookie at this level, his experience with the various types of circuits will help him throughout the season.”
Piedrahita tested with SPM at the Cooper Tires Winterfest Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series test Feb. 25-26 at Barber Motorsports Park.
“I was so impressed with the team’s professionalism,” Piedrahita said. “I think the Mazda Road to Indy is the best place to be if you want to become a professional race car driver. There are so many opportunities, and the competition is very high. I can’t wait to start the Indy Lights phase of my career with SPM.”
As the winningest team in Indy Lights history, SPM has captured seven series championships, including the past four consecutive seasons.
“If I have learned one thing in all of these years of competing in Indy Lights, it’s that you never know what to expect entering a new season,” Schmidt said. “We expect our drivers to be strong and compete for race wins in 2014, but we have a huge target on our backs having won the past four championships. We have a tremendous group of individuals preparing our cars, however, and I believe we’re ready to fight for another championship.”
The 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season kicks off March 30 on the 1.8-mile street circuit through the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. For the latest team updates, follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.