Petri Suvanto Returns to Team Pelfrey for Attack on Pro Mazda Title
 February 11, 2013| 
  • Team News

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Team Pelfrey is pleased to confirm that 2011 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda champion Petri Suvanto will return to the Florida-based team for a concerted attack on the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Suvanto will join Spencer Pigot in a two-car challenge as Team Pelfrey seeks to win its third consecutive Team Championship crown.

“I am very excited that Petri has decided to return for a second year at Team Pelfrey,” said team manager Nigel Tuckey. “In fact, the whole team is delighted to be able to reap the benefits of continuing our relationship, and is relishing the opportunity to seriously compete for Championship honors again on the back of the team’s successes last year.”

Suvanto, 20, from Seinajoki in Finland but now a resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., made the step from USF2000 to Pro Mazda with Team Pelfrey in 2012, claiming two podium finishes – including one on the streets of St. Petersburg – and 10 top-five results. He ended the season fifth in the points tally and, along with Drivers Championship-winning teammate Jack Hawksworth and Gustavo Menezes, helped Team Pelfrey to secure its second Team Championship in just two years of competition.

“I’m really excited to be racing with Team Pelfrey again this year in a quest for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires,” said Suvanto. “It’s a very nice feeling to come back to the same series with the same team for a second year. After a year of learning under my belt, I know my environment and how everything works. It’s time to put the puzzle together in order to be in the battle for the championship.

“Having a teammate of Spencer Pigot’s caliber certainly helps, and I’m looking forward to working with him. It’s very good to have a teammate that will constantly challenge you to improve. This year’s calendar is full of amazing race tracks – some new, some familiar. It’s going to be a challenging season for everyone, not just to deal with the new tracks but also to adapt to the new tires from the driving and engineering standpoint. I have to give a big thank you to Dale Pelfrey for giving me this opportunity to return to the team and hopefully I can help to bring home the third consecutive Team Championship title. I can’t wait for the season to start – see you in Austin!”

Suvanto and Pigot will take part in a two-day pre-season Pro Mazda test at Sebring International Raceway, commencing today, February 11. The first two rounds of the 16-race season will take place at the Circuit of the Americas, home of the United States Formula One Grand Prix, in Austin, Texas, on March 1-2 in conjunction with the GRAND-AM of the Americas Presented by GAINSCO and TOTAL.

Petri Suvanto was born November 13, 1992, in Seinajoki, Finland, and began karting at age 4. He won numerous races and championships on the regional, national and international levels, then earned a Formula BMW Scholarship in 2009 which enabled him to graduate into cars for the 2010 season. After finishing 11th in the Formula BMW Europe Championship, Suvanto set his sights on the Mazda Road to Indy and relocated to North America. He won five races as a rookie en route to claiming the 2011 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.  The title earned him a place on the MAZDASPEED Driver Development team and a scholarship to graduate to Pro Mazda with Team Pelfrey in 2012. He finished fifth in the championship with two podium finishes.

Dale Pelfrey’s race team, based in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area, is built upon the same principles he used 35 years ago when establishing his business career – hire the best, acquire the best and expect the best in order to achieve the most. After fielding cars in the IZOD IndyCar Series from 1998 until 2000, Team Pelfrey was reformed in 2011, winning on its Pro Mazda debut and going on to earn the Team Championship as well as second and third in the drivers’ title-chase with Connor De Phillippi and Nick Andries. Team Pelfrey went one better in 2012, guiding Jack Hawksworth to the Drivers’ Championship and earning a second successive Team Championship.

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