Bryan Herta Autosport team owners Bryan Herta and Steve Newey today announced they have expanded their presence in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship with the addition of Brazilian driver Bruno Andrade. Andrade will make his North American racing debut aboard the No. 29 William Rast entry in the Toronto 100 this weekend in support of the IZOD IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto.
Andrade, 20, of Sao Paulo, was most recently a contender for the 2010 South American F3 title. After posting five wins, seven pole positions and 16 podiums in the 24 rounds of competition, the championship battle went down to the wire in a controversial finale which remains under judgment. Andrade's strong performance earned a Formula Renault 3.5 test with Junior Lotus Racing at Alcaniz, Spain, in October of last year.
Andrade will team with current BHA entrant Duarte Ferreira – driver of the No. 28 LS Sports/Sonangol/BHA entry – who also is a former graduate of the South American F3 Light Championship.
“There is a definite competitive advantage to running a two-car program, and Steve and I are very excited to welcome Bruno to the team,” said Herta. “Bruno spent a lot of time with us throughout the month of May. He was impressive in our recent tests and he and Duarte work well together. Our goal with Bruno is to lay a foundation this season for a strong 2012 Indy Lights campaign.”
Andrade began his career in karts at the age of 13. He impressed in the Sao Paulo City Karting Championship in his formative years and claimed the champion's title in 2007. He moved up to cars in 2009 and, in addition to a third-place finish in the South American F3 Lights championship, Andrade won the Sao Paulo Formula Ford Championship in dominant fashion, only failing to finish on the podium once with six wins and seven top-three results in eight races.
“I'm very happy and very proud to be part of BHA,” said Andrade. “This is a big step in my career and I'm really looking forward to the competition. We did some testing recently and I felt very comfortable. My times were competitive and the car felt very fast. I feel I'm now prepared in every way to do my best at Toronto.”
Andrade will turn his first official laps when practice begins on Friday, July 8. The 50-lap Toronto 100 will take place at 12:00pm ET on Sunday, and will be broadcast live on VERSUS.