By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
Victor Franzoni has had one of the more interesting journeys in the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires.
After having run the 2014 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda for Afterburner Autosport, Franzoni returned to Afterburner in 2015 looking to contend for the USF2000 championship. Those plans didn’t come to fruition as Franzoni was disqualified after a top five finish at the second race at Barber Motorsports Park and a decision was made by the series to sit the team out of the next two races of the championship.
Moving to the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires for the last half of the the 2015 season proved to be an inspired choice for the Brazilian as he scored fastest lap during race three at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course events and gained valuable experience.
For 2016, Franzoni moved to ArmsUp Motorsports and won three races on his way to third in the USF2000 championship. For 2017, Pro Mazda has to be the aim, but for which team should he drive?
At the Chris Griffis Memorial Test, Franzoni tested with Juncos Racing and was fastest in all eight sessions. This was a big result for the Ricardo Juncos-led team after a 2016 season that was less than ideal with only one race win in the penultimate round of the championship.
Franzoni would be a great fit with the Juncos squad. Juncos is originally from Argentina and having a South American connection on the team could pay dividends. Another benefit would be upward mobility. The team have four Indy Lights cars at their Speedway, Indiana-based shop and if Franzoni were to win the Pro Mazda Championship in 2017, he would be able to move up into Indy Lights without any uncertainty on where he would drive in 2018.
Success would come easily at Team Pelfrey or at Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. Leading Edge Grand Prix is an unknown since the team has not competed in Pro Mazda. However, being able to get easily settled into a team environment is critical to a driver succeeding, and for Franzoni, he might have that easiest at Juncos Racing.