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February 13, 2012 News
Star Mazda: Juncos Racing Inks Venezuelans Palli and Ferreira for 2012
 

Venezuelans Bruno Palli and Diego Ferreira will make their Star Mazda Championship debuts as Team Viso Venezuela representatives (Photo: Juncos Racing)
Venezuelans Bruno Palli and Diego Ferreira will make their Star Mazda Championship debuts as Team Viso Venezuela representatives
(Photo: Juncos Racing)

Juncos Racing has signed the Venezuelan racing pair of Bruno Palli and Diego Ferreira for the upcoming 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.

With the goal of adding to its winning resume in the Star Mazda Championship - which includes the 2010 series title - Juncos Racing has added 20 year-old Palli and 18 year-old Ferreira to its 2012 driver line-up. Accomplished racers in Venezuela and Europe, Palli and Ferreira will migrate their careers to the U.S.A. this season as representatives of "Team Viso Venezuela", an initiative founded by the duo's Venezuelan manager and IZOD IndyCar Series driver E.J. Viso.

"Team Viso Venezuela" is a program that promotes bringing young talents from the South American country to compete in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder with the help of Venezuelan supporters. The hope is that the racers can then climb through the ranks until they reach the peak of American open-wheel racing, the IZOD IndyCar Series. Juncos Racing currently runs teams in the top two steps of the ladder, the Star Mazda Championship and the Firestone Indy Lights Series.

"After talking with Ricardo [Juncos] for a long time, we concluded that we would start a partnership to bring young drivers into the Mazda Road to Indy and Star Mazda Championship," commented Viso. "On my side, I thought about the best drivers in Venezuela to bring to the series. I believe that Bruno [Palli] and Diego [Ferreira] will get the job done. I'm very proud to say that I started 'Team Viso Venezuela'. I created the program to promote young drivers coming from my country so that they can have a bright future in auto racing. My idea is to manage them and give them all the tools I can for them to have successful careers."

"It is an honor for us to be working with E.J. Viso and the 'Team Viso Venezuela' initiative," said Juncos Racing Team Owner Ricardo Juncos. "This partnership is going to be huge for everyone involved, and it is going to give a lot of opportunities for Venezuelan drivers to race in the U.S.A. I'm excited that Bruno Palli and Diego Ferreira will be some of the first drivers to represent 'Team Viso Venezuela', and I'm so glad to have signed them to be part of the Juncos Racing team this season. We have been testing with Bruno and Diego, and they have really impressed the team so far. They improved a lot over four days, and clearly showed that they will be fighting for the top this season. This is the beginning of really good things for Juncos Racing and 'Team Viso Venezuela'. We can't wait to get the 2012 season started."

Palli and Ferreira have had somewhat similar career paths throughout their lives. Like many other racecar drivers, they both started racing in karts, and winning titles in Venezuela at a young age. In 2008, they each made an appearance in the Venezuelan Formula Ford 1600 Championship along with fellow countryman and Star Mazda Championship competitor Carlos Linares, and at the end of 2009, all three participated in a European Formula 3 test in Valencia, Spain. Palli and Ferreira have already completed several successful tests with Juncos Racing this year, two of which were held this past week at Roebling Road and Palm Beach International Raceway.

Palli has won many karting titles throughout his career, such as the Venezuelan Novice MiniKart Champion in 2001, the Viso Cup Champion in 2004, the Venezuelan "Best Pilot Award" in both 2004 and 2005, and the Venezuelan "Driver of the Year Award" and "Karting Athlete of the Year Award" in 2006. In 2008, Palli became the Venezuelan Easykart Runner-Up Champion and competed in two Venezuelan Formula Ford 1600 Races, taking a win and a third place finish. The following year, Palli finished fourth in the European Formula 3 Championship, and in 2011, he became the Venezuelan Formula Ford 1600 National Champion, as well as the Pan American Easykart Champion.

"I am very excited to join the Juncos Racing team," stated Palli. "I am really looking forward to competing in the Star Mazda Championship and the Mazda Road Indy program this year. I feel very confident in our team, and I hope to bring many podiums and wins to them this year. It means so much to me and my supporters to have the support of my longtime friend and now manager E.J. [Viso]."

Ferreira is a one-time Regional Karting Champion, a two-time International Karting Champion, and a five-time National Karting Champion, that has won such titles as "Driver of the Year" and "Rookie of the Year" by the IRDA, TACV and FVK, and a Silver Medal in the 2007 Venezuelan National Games. In 2008, Ferreira competed in one Venezuelan Formula Ford 1600 race, and in 2009, he competed in three races in the series, scoring two wins, one second place finish, and third overall in the championship. Also in 2009, he finished third in the Pan American Easykart Championship and completed his aforementioned European Formula 3 test with Campos Racing. Last season, Ferreira competed in the Latam Challenge Series Formula 2000 powered by Volkswagen, finishing fourth in the novice category, the Venezuelan Rotax Max Challenge (DD2 Senior) finishing fourth, and the Florida Winter Tour (Rotax DD2) finishing fifth.

"I feel very happy and excited to have signed with Juncos Racing," stated Ferreira. "This was always my plan, and I thank E.J. Viso for making all of this possible. I think it will be a great season for us, and to be able to work with a Venezuelan teammate and friend like Bruno Palli is great. We have been racing together for a long time, and now we will bring 'Team Viso Venezuela' to American motorsports. I think the Juncos Racing team has always proven itself to be one of the best in the category, which is why we chose to race with them. We have already had some great tests, so we know this was the right step for us."

The 2012 Star Mazda Championship season kicks off with an official "Spring Training" test at Barber Motorsports Park on March 19-20, followed by the first race weekend of the season on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 24-25.

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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