M1 Racing is pleased to announce that Victor Franzoni and Carlos Conde have joined its team in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, effective immediately.
They will join Expert class driver Jay Horak of Mesa, Ariz., in the series’ tripleheader on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway May 7-9.
Franzoni, 19, is stepping up from the USF2000 series, where he is currently fifth in the point standings. The native of Sao Paulo, Brazil won the USF2000 race April 12 at NOLA Motorsports Park, and he finished second in a similar event April 24 at Barber Motorsports Park. He also finished second in the pre-season Cooper Tires Winterfest with two victories and a second, missing the title by a mere five points.
Last year he placed fifth in the USF2000 championship as a rookie, winning at St. Petersburg, Fla. He also posted podium finishes at Barber, Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
He competed in Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup in 2013, and he had great success in karting before he advanced to formula car racing. He started karting at the age of 4. He speaks four languages (Portuguese, Italian, English and Spanish), and his goal is to be an IndyCar driver.
Franzoni’s effort is being sponsored in part by AutoEnginuity, the world’s leading provider of PC/PDA-based scan tools used for diagnostics. Horak is that company’s chief executive officer.
“Victor is what a sponsor hopes to find to showcase their products — a top-tier driver who is well mannered and professional,” Horak said. “What he strives for in his racing career, we do in our products. We are a great fit. I think this is just the beginning of what should be a long relationship. We are very excited to be part of his path to the top.”
“When Jay approached me about running Victor, I was very excited,” said Paul Mata, owner of M1 Racing. “I’m well aware of his accomplishments in USF2000 and in Europe, and I expect great things from him in Pro Mazda.”
“I’m very excited to join M1 Racing,” Franzoni said. “It will be my first time in a Pro Mazda car. I’m confident that M1 will give me a good car, and I’m very excited to see what happens when we get to Indy!”
Franzoni finished third in one of the USF2000 races on the IMS road course last year.
In addition to AutoEnginuity, Franzoni’s Pro Mazda car will be sponsored by Novac Sports.
Conde, of Scarsdale, N.Y., joins Horak in the Expert class. Although he’s driven in Pro Mazda races with M1 Racing in the past, the IMS tripleheader will be his first race in the series this year. His main focus this season is IMSA’s North American Ferrari Challenge series, where he is leading the Trofeo Pirelli AM point standings. He won that class in the series’ most recent race too, as he was victorious April 26 at Sonoma Raceway.
“I intend to do a few Pro Mazda races, but it’s still to be determined how many,” Conde said. “I will do IMS for sure.”
IMS was scheduled as a doubleheader for the Pro Mazda series but there will actually be three Pro Mazda races at IMS this year. After two test sessions on Wednesday, May 6 (10:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.) and two practice sessions on Thursday, May 7 (9:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.), the 35-minute race that was rained out at NOLA will be held at 5:55 p.m. on Thursday, May 7, according to the series’ Web site at promazdaseries.com.
Qualifying for the regular races planned for IMS will be held at 10:15 a.m. on Friday, May 8, with the second race (45 minutes) following that afternoon at 2 p.m. The third race (40 minutes) will be held at 12:15 p.m. Saturday, May 9. All times are Eastern.
M1 Racing / Image: USF2000