Andretti Autosport announced today they will test Star Mazda Championship driver Zach Veach in one of the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars on Aug. 13 at Putnam Park Raceway.
“We're always impressed with Zach and how he handles himself both on and off the track," said Michael Andretti, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Andretti Autosport.
“We've been working with him for a couple years now and he has shown great promise. I think he will adapt well to the (Firestone) Indy Lights car; this test is the next step for him as he works his way up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder and the team and I look forward to being a part of his development.”
Veach currently competes full-time in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with Andretti Autosport. The 17-year-old from Stockdale, Ohio, Veach started 2012 off by capturing the Formula Car Challenge Winter Series Championship by using four race wins and four pole positions to secure the series title. During the regular Star Mazda season, Veach has six top-10 finishes and a runner-up result on the streets of Toronto, putting him tenth in the championship points.
“I'm beyond excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity to test the Indy Lights car,” said Veach. “It's such an honor to be part of the Andretti Autosport family and I'm as committed as ever to make it through the full Mazda Road to Indy ladder with an ultimate goal of reaching the IZOD IndyCar Series and qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. Testing the Indy Lights car is a great step to achieve my dream, and I can't thank the team, K12 and all of my partners enough for the continued support of me and my career.”
Veach joined Andretti Autosport in 2010 for the USF2000 National Championship, where he finished fifth in the overall driver championship points, despite starting the season two races behind the rest of the field. He returned to Andretti Autosport in 2011 and secured the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 Winterfest Championship, with two race wins and three pole positions. During the regular USF2000 season, he finished fourth, helping Andretti Autosport secure the team championship title for the second consecutive year with one win, five podiums and three pole positions.
Veach will be the first driver, who has competed at every level of the Mazda Road to Indy, to step up to the Firestone Indy Lights series for a test. The Mazda Road to Indy is the official developmental system of INDYCAR and is designed to advance drivers from grassroots to the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. The initiative was launched in 2010.
“Watching Zach take another step towards continuing his movement up the Mazda Road to Indy is special, because it's exactly what the ladder system is all about,” said Tony George Jr., Director, Firestone Indy Lights. “He's seen success in USF2000 and Star Mazda, and we've watched him develop both on and off the track. Not only is he talented in a race car, he's also built a recognizable brand for himself, which is very important in motorsports. It's very apparent that we have some huge talent in Star Mazda this year, and we're looking forward to having many such drivers join Firestone Indy Lights in the near future.”