Indianapolis-based Younessi Racing is pleased to announce that it is expanding its presence in Firestone Indy Lights for 2012. Rodin Younessi, the lone owner/driver in the series has signed Ireland-native Peter Dempsey to drive for the team beginning with the Freedom 100.
Dempsey will drive the team’s lone entry at the race, but will be joined by Younessi in a two-car effort at Detroit’s Belle Isle event on June 2. Younessi has also hired veteran engineer Dave McMillan to re-unite with Dempsey, who made a powerful combination at O2 Racing Technology in 2011. Competing in four events together, they earned two podium finishes at St. Petersburg, led 9 laps at Long Beach and captured a top ten finish at the Freedom 100.
With eight years' experience in Firestone Indy Lights, McMillan has scored eight poles, 25 starts in the top five, eight wins and 25 podium finishes, with Jeff Simmons, Al Unser III, Phil Giebler, Marco Andretti, Jay Howard, Jonny Reid, Charlie Kimball, and Dempsey. A star open-wheel driver in the 1970s, he is also a member of the New Zealand Motorsports Wall of Fame.
Dempsey, 26, is best known for winning the most races (9) in the history of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and for being one of only two drivers to win the prestigious Walter Hayes Trophy three times. He made his Firestone Indy Lights debut in 2011 for O2 Racing Technology at four events and Andretti Autosport at five events. He earned four podium finishes with a best of second place at Toronto for Michael Andretti’s team, and finished 10th in season points despite only competing in nine events.
“I couldn’t be happier about returning for the Freedom 100 at IMS,” Dempsey said. “Having Dave McMillan back working with me is a huge advantage as we have established a great working relationship and friendship since we met last season. We have brought in top crew to work with the team and our aim is to enjoy competing for the remainder of the year and hopefully the success will follow. There is one man who has given this opportunity to all of us and that is team owner Rodin Younessi. Our aim together is to be the best we can be and I could never thank him enough for giving me this special and unique opportunity.”
Rodin Younessi, a licensed attorney, formed Younessi Racing compete in the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights season and made his series debut on the streets of St. Petersburg. He began racing motorcycles at a young age and also competed in sports car racing. In 2011, he competed in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda and the F2000 Championship Series. Younessi also owns and operates two of the highest volume Harley-Davidson dealerships in America, Seminole Harley-Davidson and Space Coast Harley-Davidson.
“I am very excited to have Peter and Dave on board as we expand our involvement in the Firestone Indy Lights series,” Younessi said. "We are committed to improving our team and we are 100% focused on winning the Freedom 100 with Peter. We are a small but unique team in this series. As an owner/driver, I race because I have a strong passion for competition. Our whole team has a love for racing and we are very excited and optimistic about our chances for success.”
Dempsey and Younessi Racing will participate in the Firestone Indy Lights Open Test on May 11 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.