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January 20, 2012 News
Star Mazda: USF2000 Champion Suvanto Joins Defending Team Champion Team Pelfrey

Petri Suvanto will drive for Team Pelfrey in the 2012 Star Mazda Championship as a Mazda Road to Indy scholarship racer (Photo: USF2000 National Championship - John Hendrick)
Petri Suvanto will drive for Team Pelfrey in the 2012 Star Mazda Championship as a Mazda Road to Indy scholarship racer
(Photo: USF2000 National Championship - John Hendrick)

Team Pelfrey is proud to announce that Finnish rising star Petri Suvanto, a convincing winner of the 2011 USF2000 National Championship, will complete its line-up in the quest for continued success in the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear.

Suvanto, who advances up the motorsports ladder thanks to a Mazda Road to Indy scholarship, will make his Star Mazda Championship in 2012 driving for 2011 series team champion Team Pelfrey. The talent Finnish racer will join American Gustavo Menezes, who finished eighth in the 2011 Star Mazda series as a rookie with Juncos Racing, and Englishman Jack Hawksworth, a race winner in last yearís Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship, in a three-pronged attack on the 2012 title-chase.

ďWinning is our obsession so who better to drive for us than the defending USF2000 champion,Ē says Team Pelfrey Team Manager Geoff Fickling. ďPetri is the perfect driver for a results-oriented team. Heís extremely focused, self-motivated, and bloody quick! Some of his wins last year were shockingly impressive. We know the step up to Star Mazda is a big one and thereís a learning curve that needs to be met in order to even utter the word championship, but Iíve laid out the most extensive preseason testing program Iíve ever been a part of in order to get all three of our young driversí learning curves accelerated as quickly as possible prior to the opener at St. Petersburg. Jack, Gustavo, and Petri Ė I couldnít be happier with our lineup.Ē

Suvanto was extremely impressive in winning last yearís Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda title as a rookie, and is now able to reach one step closer to his goal of competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series, courtesy of the Mazda Road to Indy scholarship ladder.

ďIt feels great to finally announce that I will be racing for Team Pelfrey,Ē said Suvanto, 19, who is currently completing his mandatory National Service in his native Finland. ďItís been very difficult to hold back the exciting news for so long while we finalized all the details! I have had a chance to get to know the team a little bit over the winter, and Iím very excited to work with such a professional group of people again.

ďMoving up to Star Mazda isnít going to be easy, but Iím welcoming the challenge with open arms. 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. Last year at this time I was wondering whether I would be able to ever race again, but from the moment I learned about the Mazda Road to Indy, I knew what I wanted. It worked out pretty well. 2011 changed my life, and Iím very thankful to all the people who were part of it, especially everyone at Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. Now itís time to start a new chapter full of new challenges. Iím already counting the days until the first race.Ē

Team Pelfrey made a stunning series debut last March, when Connor De Phillippi won the opening race at St. Petersburg, Fla., just a few miles away from its home base. De Phillippi maintained the momentum by adding three more race wins, and together with teammate Nick Andries claimed a total of three poles and 13 podium finishes en route to second and third positions in the driversí championship. The pair also finished first and second in the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to clinch the coveted Team Championship for Team Pelfrey.

Once his National Service is completed, Suvanto will join the team in a busy schedule of testing in preparation for the first race of the season, which will be held in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series opener, the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, on March 25.

To keep up to date with the 2012 driver line-ups, be sure to regularly visit the eFormulaCarNews.com Tentative Entry List webpage located HERE
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