By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
After some downtime following the new year, the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires has had a few driver announcements in recent days that have helped shape the grids across the three championships.
In the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda, Canadian team Exclusive Autosport announced Mexican pilot Manuel Cabrera while DEForce Racing confirmed their trio of drivers for the season.
Kory Enders will rejoin the team he spent his rookie season with, while Colin Kaminsky joins the team after spending much of 2017 with John Cummiskey Racing. Newcomer Jose Sierra joins the team after racing with them on the streets of Toronto.
In the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, DEForce Racing announced they were expanding to that championship as well and signed British racer James Raven to a full season.
The Pro Mazda grid has another USF2000 driver joining its ranks with Andres Gutierrez joining Team Pelfrey for the 2018 season. Gutierrez joins from DEForce Racing where he raced both Mid-Ohio races and at Watkins Glen.
A new team announced that they were joining the Pro Mazda championship as Italian-based RP Motorsport will expand into American racing with Lodovico Laurini and Harrison Scott behind the wheel of their PM-18s. Scott won 2017’s Euroformula Open Championship which was formerly Spanish F3.
2017 USF2000 champion Oliver Askew has yet to announce the Pro Mazda team he will be racing with. Given that he won the championship with Cape Motorsports, it’d be a smart move to consider him one of their racers this year partnering Nikita Lastochkin.
As for Indy Lights, no new announcements have been made but there are six confirmed entries for the moment. Andretti Autosport have a formidable quartet with Pato O’Ward joining returning drivers Dalton Kellett, Ryan Norman and Colton Herta who is racing under the Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing banner. Belardi Auto Racing confirmed Aaron Telitz behind the wheel of one of their cars but intend to have three on the grid with a possibility of a fourth.
2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni has not announced his plans but it’s not a bad idea to pencil him in at Juncos Racing. He won the Pro Mazda title with them and has no reason to change teams.
Carlin have yet to announce their drivers but it’s believed that they have two or three cars ready to go. Team Pelfrey have no drivers announced at the moment.