Finnish driver Petri Suvanto (LEFT) will take his next step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder for 2012. After winning the 2011 USF2000 championship for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, Suvanto advances into Star Mazda with Team Pelfrey this season.
Suvanto won five races and finished in the top five in all 12 USF2000 races a year ago en route to the title. He joins series sophomore Gustavo Menezes and rookie Jack Hawksworth on the Florida-based Pelfrey squad this season.
Pelfrey won the 2011 Star Mazda team championship on the strength of four wins from American rising star Connor De Phillippi, who hopes to advance into Indy Lights this season, and also Nick Andries who added eight top-five finishes to the season.
“Winning is our obsession so who better to drive for us than the defending USF2000 champion,” said Geoff Fickling, Team Pelfrey team manager. “He's extremely focused, self-motivated, and bloody quick! Some of his wins last year were shockingly impressive.”
Suvanto tested with Team Pelfrey at October's Mazda Road to Indy ladder test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
“Moving up to Star Mazda isn't going to be easy but I'm welcoming the challenge with open arms,” he said. “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. 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. Now it's time to start a new chapter full of new challenges.”
Suvanto's signing isn't the only one in Star Mazda of late. In the last week, Chicago-based Team Strange, LLC announced Lazaro Selegar of Brazil and Brandon Reed of Elkhart, Ind., as drivers for the season. Selegar is slated for a full-season ride, with Reed confirmed for a partial season.