Zachary Claman De Melo

Despite an impressive season as an IndyCar Series rookie, Zachary Claman was left without a full-time opportunity race Indy cars in 2019.

But the 20-year-old Canadian, who led seven laps in the Indianapolis 500, has found a way to stay on IndyCar Series’ owners’ radars, signing with Belardi Auto Racing for upcoming Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season.

“We are thrilled to have someone with Zachary’s caliber of talent join our lineup at Belardi Auto Racing for the 2019 Indy Lights season,” said team owner Brian Belardi. “The experience he brings from not only the IndyCar Series, but as a race-winning driver in the Indy Lights category will really pay off, and I personally am excited to see where the team goes this year.”

Claman is bucking a trend that rarely sees drivers return to the Road to Indy once they get a taste of INDYCAR’s premier series but with 34 Indy Lights starts under his belt, including a win at Road America in 2018, he feels like he can contend for the championship and the series’ $1.1 million scholarship prize

“I am very excited to be joining Belardi Auto Racing for the upcoming season,” said Claman, who made nine starts with Dale Coyne Racing last season. “The team has a great track record for being very competitive and for getting drivers to (the) IndyCar (Series) and keeping them there.

“Being back in Indy Lights will be good for my development as a driver and as a competitor,” he added, “But my only goal going into this season is to win the championship.”