Canadian racer Matthew Di Leo will take the next step of his motorsports career as he steps up to Firestone Indy Lights beginning with the Long Beach 100 on the streets of Long Beach, Calif.
The teenager, who serves as owner/driver of MDL Racing, will make his series debut at the street circuit ready to build on the success he has earned in the USF2000 Championship.
"I'm looking forward to being so close to (the IZOD IndyCar Series), so close to my ultimate goal," Di Leo said. "I feel like there is a lot of great competition in the series, like there has been in all the series on the Mazda Road to Indy program. My goals for the weekend at Long Beach is to get a top-three finish, and bring the car back in one piece."
While Di Leo will be making his debut in the top rung of the Mazda Road to Indy program, which was created to advance drivers into the IZOD IndyCar Series, he is confident that he can make an immediate impression.
Driving MDL Racing entry that is sponsored by RES Precast Inc., the 17 year-old will have the benefit of working with the same crew that has led him to previous junior formula car success, as well as having recently completed a successful test at California's Buttonwillow Raceway.
"It actually was the most unreal ride of my life," Di Leo said of his first Firestone Indy Lights test. "The car was so fast, and it handled great. I knew as soon as I finished my test day that I would be doing a race soon. I can't wait to be back in that car."
Di Leo has competed as an owner/driver for the past two years and was a contender for top honors in the 2012 USF2000 Championship, ultimately finishing fourth in the championship fight with four trips to the podium. The Innisfil, Ontario native also has a winning record in the highly-competitive Canadian F1600 ranks.