Linares Racing, the first-ever Venezuelan team to enter the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear has announced it will expand to a 2-car effort for the remaining six races of the 2010 season with the addition of Chilean open-wheel racer Kevin Toledo.
The team has been running a single-car effort for 2009 Venezuelan national FF1600 champion Carlos Linares with backing from IND (Instituto Nacional De Deportes), Venezuela's National Institute of Sport. With several top-12 finishes, Linares is currently tied for 13th in the championship battle.
Toledo, who ran the 2009 Star Mazda Championship season with another team (with a best finish of 7th on the Iowa Speedway Oval), also has several years of experience in the Chilean F3 series and F2 in Argentina.
"I learned a lot in my first season of racing in the Star Mazda Championship and I'm excited to join Linares Racing for the rest of 2010," says Toledo. "The team has made a lot of progress during the season, and Carlos has been very quick, so I think that with the two of us working toward the same goal, we can turn this team into a true championship contender in 2011."
Adding another dimension of top-level expertise to the team is engineer Rob Ridgely, who also has experience working with IndyCar teams. The widely-experienced Crew Chief will be Claudio Novoa, a veteran of the Barber Dodge Pro Series, Indy Lights with Andersen Racing and several Indy Car teams, including Team Minardi, Roth Racing and Team Rahal. The new Linares Racing team, headquartered near the heart of the Indy Car racing community at a facility in Brownsburg, Indiana.
"We have grown as a team to the point now where Carlos is regularly running toward the front of the pack, and the addition of an experienced Star Mazda racer like Kevin to the team will give us more data to work with and help them both to be more competitive," says Novoa. "We'll be testing with Kevin at Putnam Park later this week and the team is excited to be taking this big step forward for the rest of this season, and building a team that can run for the championship in 2011."
"I'm very happy with the progress we have made since we first started the Linares Racing team at the beginning of this season," says Linares Racing team owner Gustavo Linares. "It was our plan from the beginning to expand to a two-car team once we had gained enough experience and the addition of Kevin Toledo to our driver lineup takes the team to the next level. We have a two-year plan to compete in the Star Mazda Championship before expanding our team to include the Firestone Indy Lights series and we hope to be able to help other young Venezuelan and South American drivers advance their careers in this country.
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