2015 Pro Mazda champion Santiago Urrutia will join Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for the 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, driving the No. 55 Mazda-sponsored car.
“I am very honored to be able to drive for (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports,” Urrutia said. “The team has an amazing record in Indy Lights and I am going to make sure I add to its tally of wins and championships. I’m also very happy to work with an incredible group of guys and gals that I’ve already met during my tests with the team. Now that the business of contracts is done, St. Pete here we come.”
The 19-year-old Uruguayan competed in various series in Europe before setting his sights on the Mazda Road to Inday. In 2015, Urrutia became the first driver in from his country to claim an international championship, scoring three wins and 10 podium finishes en route to the Pro Mazda championship and earning series Rookie of the Year honors.
Urrutia has spent the offseason testing with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, including at Homestead-Miami Speedway in January of this year. He is slated to test again with the team next week at Phoenix International Raceway before his first race in St. Petersburg.
“I’m very pleased to have Santiago joining the SPM team for 2016," team co-owner Sam Schmidt said. "He is clearly talented and deserving to have won the scholarship to advance to Indy Lights. What impressed me most are his focus, maturity and determination to be the very best. You can see it in his eyes and the way he approaches every aspect of the business. He is totally committed and will be competitive straight away.”
Rahal team adds Fifth Third Bank as associate sponsor
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has added Fifth Third Bank as an associate sponsor on the No. 15 Honda that Graham Rahal will drive in the Verizon IndyCar Series for the 2016 season that begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 13.
“I’m very pleased that we have entered into this partnership with Fifth Third Bank,” said Bobby Rahal, RLLR co-owner. “Fifth Third Bank is a major force in the banking industry in the Midwest and is known as one of the top banking institutions in the industry. It’s only fitting to come together for these great races and especially the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.”
Events at St. Petersburg, Indianapolis, Detroit and Mid-Ohio, among others, have been identified as key markets and the company is currently planning initiatives that align with its corporate goals for those markets. The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presnted by PennGrade Motor Oil will allow Fifth Third and the Rahal team to join forces in making an impact on the local community, especially during the bank’s annual hunger initiative leading up to the month of May.
Butterball expands its tasty partnership with Andretti Autosport
Butterball has expanded its relationship with four-time Verizon IndyCar Series championship team Andretti Autosport, marking 2016 the third year for the successful partnership. Butterball, the U.S.-based food corporation that accounts for approximately 20 percent of total turkey production in the nation, will see its branding on the No. 28 Honda piloted by 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. In addition, Marco Andretti’s No. 27 Honda will carry Butterball’s mark for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.
“We’re really pleased to welcome back Butterball for a third-consecutive season,” said team owner Michael Andretti. "The expanded partnership gives Butterball a place in history as we celebrate a significant season of Indy car racing. Not only are we proud to have Butterball on the cars, but we’re thrilled to have their quality turkey on our hospitality menu!”