Belardi Auto Racing is pleased to announce that Irishman Peter Dempsey will pilot their No. 9 car for the remainder of the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights season beginning in Toronto next weekend.
"Peter has been on our radar since he was a competitor at Andretti Autosport last year," team owner Brian Belardi said. "We saw how immensely talented and quick he was, and mentally put him into consideration for the future. At the beginning of this season we had two great drivers fill our two full-time seats, so things just weren't right at the time.
"Unfortunately this season has not worked out the way we had anticipated. With Peter now on our team, we expect this to be a step in the right direction. Everyone is looking forward to his first race with us in Toronto."
The 26-year-old from Ashbourne, Ireland began his career in go-karts in 1995. Soon after, Dempsey moved on to Formula Ford under his father's race team, Cliff Dempsey Racing, winning six races in the 2004 season. The following year the Irishman won an impressive 33 races with 33 fastest laps and 18 poles in just 43 starts during his time in the Formula Ford 1600 in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
In 2006, Dempsey continued to impress with four race wins, 10 podium finishes and five fastest laps with Cliff Dempsey Racing in the UK Formula Ford Duratec Championship. From there he went on to race in selected events in the Irish & UK Formula Ford 1600 2007 season continuing to win multiple awards like the BRDC Golden Helmet, the Leinster Trophy and the coveted Walter Hayes Trophy for the second year in a row.
A giant leap of faith was taken the following year, and Dempsey moved his career across the pond to the United States. Joining Andersen Racing for the Star Mazda Championship, Peter conquered his first year in the U.S. with four wins and seven podiums placing third in the championship. The following year Peter managed a second place finish in the Star Mazda Championship with five race wins and six podiums.
The 2010 season was a mix of opportunities for Dempsey who competed in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans, the Formula Ford Festival and won the Walter Hayes Trophy for the third time; he is only the second driver to ever win three times. Last year Peter made his debut into the Firestone Indy Lights series with O2 Racing and Andretti Autosport. Between the two teams he acquired four podiums and even led at the Long Beach Grand Prix.
So far in 2012 Peter has focused on his Firestone Indy Lights career racing in the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix with Younessi Racing. For the final five races of the season Peter looks forward to working with Belardi Auto Racing.
"First off I want to thank the team, Belardi Auto Racing, Brian and John for giving me this opportunity," the Irishman said. "As soon as one door closes, another opens so I'm delighted to be given the opportunity to get back in the Firestone Indy Lights series and have a more solid deal than what I'm used to for the remainder of the season.
"Hopefully I can bring my knowledge and experience to the team and put us up to the front as quickly as possible and challenge for a couple of good results. Definitely going into Toronto we want to be at the front, and I'd love to finish off the season with a couple of great finishes for the team. I'm really looking forward to Toronto. Jorge has been my teammate before so we should work well together, and we'll see how it goes."