Karam joins Schmidt Lights lineup

Sage Karam has been nurtured throughout his racing career by Andretti Autosport, but the 18-year-old driver is spreading his wings to compete in Firestone Indy Lights in 2013.

Karam, who finished third in the Star Mazda Championship in 2012, has joined Schmidt Peterson Motorsports alongside Jack Hawksworth and Gabby Chaves for the 12-race season that begins March 23 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. He made his first appearance with the team during an Open Test at Sebring International Raceway on March 7-8 and will participate in an Open Test on March 11 at Barber Motorsports Park.

"We've been watching Sage throughout the entire Mazda Road to Indy ladder and he has excelled in both USF2000 and Pro Mazda, so we have high expectations for his first year in Firestone Indy Lights," team co-owner Sam Schmidt said. "Age is always something to consider, but from what we've seen in Sage's recent racing seasons, he is mature beyond his years in the car. He has knowledge of many of the circuits we'll be racing at this year, so from that standpoint he won't be a pure rookie."

Karam, from Nazareth, Pa., was drawn to SPM because of its consistency in winning Firestone Indy Lights championships (three in a row and six overall).

"We just couldn't get a deal done with Andretti for Indy Lights, but I'm happy to be with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports," Karam said. "They've won a lot of titles in the series, so it's almost a no-brainer to want to race for them. I believe SPM will give me the best possible chance of winning."

Karam, who claimed the USF2000 title and a Mazda Road to Indy scholarship in 2010, won five races over the past two seasons in Star Mazda. He said he's ready for the challenges in Firestone Indy Lights.

"It's a whole new series for me, and I'm trying to learn about the Firestone Indy Lights car," he said. "But at the same time, I'm also learning to work with a new team. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is a great team to be a part of, and it's good to come into a car that's already developed. I'm just working on adapting my driving style to the car and get up to speed with the fast guys."

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