Sam Schmidt Motorsports has announced today that it has signed its first driver of the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights Series season - Gustavo "Tigrillo" Yacamán.
Yacamán, who will become 18-years of age on February 25th, comes from Santiago de Cali, Colombia, and will join the championship as a rookie.
"I'm very excited to enter the series," Yacamán said. "The new experience of racing on ovals is something I'm looking forward to. I'm also very pleased to drive a car with so much horsepower. In addition, being with Sam Schmidt Motorsports makes me even more motivated because of its legacy as the most successful team in the Firestone Indy Lights Series."
Joining Sam Schmidt Motorsports was a decision influenced by a couple of famous Latin American racing drivers. Both Juan Pablo Montoya and Eliseo Salazar told Yacamán that Sam Schmidt Motorsports was the team to partner with in the Firestone Indy Lights Series.
"Speaking to Juan Pablo Montoya about which team would be best in Firestone Indy Lights, he mentioned several teams, but the one he spoke best of was Sam Schmidt Motorsports," Yacamán said. "Eliseo Salazar also reached out to me about racing in the U.S., and he was the one that introduced me to Sam Schmidt. The team's results speak for themselves."
In 2008, Yacamán lived in Madrid, Spain, and competed in the Spanish Formula 3 Championship. His season was highlighted by a win at the famed Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Yacamán also competed as a rookie in the series in 2007, and as a 16-year old, set the record for youngest race winner in Formula 3 in Europe when he took the checkered flag at the Jerez round.
He's made his name known in U.S. racing circles with his impressive performances in the karting ranks. In 2005, he won the National and East Coast JICA championships in the Snap-On Starts of Karting Presented by the IndyCar Series. He was also the champion in the Rotax Junior class in that year's Florida Winter Tour.
Team owner, Sam Schmidt, said, "Gustavo's resume is certainly impressive and when both Montoya and Salazar call to support a driver, you have to listen. He brings a strong and broad background to our team, as well as a maturity level beyond his years. Even at such a young age, he's accomplished quite a bit in various racing series around the world and we are quite pleased to have him on the team."
Sam Schmidt Motorsports enters the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights Series season as the all-time win and title leader in the series with 27 victories and 3 championships. The 15-race schedule kicks off on April 4th on the Streets of St. Petersburg, where Sam Schmidt Motorsports has enjoyed a victory both in 2007 and 2008.
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