Rinus Veekay will join reigning Pro Mazda championship team Juncos Racing for the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires.
The 17-year-old Dutch driver, who finished second in this year's Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda, joins the Indianapolis-based outfit following a successful test outing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last month.
“I feel very honored that I can join such a successful team,” VeeKay said. “They have a very professional attitude and the cooperation during the test was excellent from the very first moment. I really felt at home. I was also able to visit the team’s workshop in Indianapolis where they have state-of-the-art facilities, and everything looks tidy and clean like a Formula One operation, which impressed me.”
The teenager quickly put himself into the Mazda Road to Indy limelight as he charged to three wins and 12 podium finishes in his rookie USF2000 season with Pabst Racing. VeeKay's results drew the attention of Ricardo Juncos, owner of Juncos Racing, a three-time Pro Mazda and two-time Indy Lights championship-winning organization.
“I am thrilled to announce Rinus is joining Juncos Racing for the 2018 Pro Mazda season,” Juncos said. “We first worked with Rinus back in October testing at Mid-Ohio and were very pleased with him all around. He was very fast on track and had a great professional approach when working with the crew and engineers. Rinus showed he will be a top contender on track and he is going to be an incredible asset to our Pro Mazda lineup this coming year. I want to thank Rinus and his family for the opportunity to add him to our program and look forward to a great year as we compete for another championship.”
VeeKay will again be supported by Jumbo Supermarkten, the most significant supermarket chain in The Netherlands, as well as KNAF Talent First, Holland’s official young driver development program. The youngster is also mentored by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk, whose input he takes very seriously.
“Arie recommended that I move up to Pro Mazda for 2018 instead of Indy Lights,” VeeKay said. “Gathering more experience on the second level of the Mazda Road to Indy will be a big help to my career and my goal for next year is clear and simple: win the Pro Mazda championship.”