Team Pelfrey Signs Two Exciting Youngsters for Pro Mazda Campaign
 March 19, 2015| 
  • Team News
Mexico’s O’Ward and Uruguay’s Urrutia Add International Flair to the Mazda Road to Indy

Palmetto, Fla. – On the heels of victory in the recent Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Winterfest mini-series, Team Pelfrey today is proud to confirm that talented teenagers Patricio “Pato” O’Ward and Santiago “Santi” Urrutia will contest the entire Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires which begins with a pair of races March 28/29 just a few miles from the team’s base in St. Petersburg, Fla.

O’Ward is no stranger to the team after impressing during the annual Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last fall. The talented youngster will be the youngest competitor in the series at just 15 years of age but has amassed a strong resume in karting, including victory in the 2012 SKUSA SuperNats Junior Stock Moto Championship. He also posted one win during a partial 2014 season in the extremely competitive French F4 Championship.

“I am really pumped and excited for this Pro Mazda 2015 racing season,” said O’Ward, who was born in Monterrey, Mexico, but moved with his family at age 6 to San Antonio, Texas, where he now attends the Texas Military Institute, balancing his time between his education and his racing. “I am extremely thankful for this great opportunity Team Pelfrey has given me. I have changed my focus from racing in Europe to racing in the United States on the Mazda Road to Indy. My objective for this year is to be the youngest ever Pro Mazda champion and then make the jump to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. In longer terms my goal is to reach the Verizon IndyCar Series and become the youngest ever champion.”

Urrutia also is switching his attention to the Mazda Road to Indy after achieving success in the South American karting ranks and then competing in Europe since 2011. The 18-year-old from Miguelete, Uruguay, raced for two years in the Italian-based Formula Abarth Championship, followed by single seasons in Formula 3 and, in 2014, the GP3 Series in support of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

“I am really excited about the upcoming season,” said Urrutia. “Making the switch from Europe is a big change for me, but the Mazda Road to Indy is without doubt the place to be and I can’t wait to get down to work with Team Pelfrey.”

Both youngsters have displayed good speed in recent tests, leading Team Pelfrey Team Manager Nigel Tuckey to be optimistic about the team’s prospects for the season.

“I am convinced that Pato is one of the most exciting young talents to have emerged in quite a while, and it will be fascinating to see how he progresses and develops throughout the year,” said Tuckey. “Santi has shown very well in Europe in recent years, and if his testing performance with us is anything to go by we have a very exciting driver pairing.  I can safely say we are looking forward to St Petersburg and getting the 2015 season started.”

Dale Pelfrey’s race team, based in Palmetto, Fla., is built upon the same principles he used more than 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 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. An expansion into the F1600 Championship Series for 2014 saw Ayla Agren, Garth Rickards and Augie Lerch secure the top three positions in the points table. The 2015 season also marks Team Pelfrey’s debut in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
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