TORONTO, Ont. — After a two-week break in the action, Belardi Auto Racing will return to battle this weekend at the next stop on the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires circuit. The top step of the Mazda Road to Indy program will travel north into Canada for the popular event at the historic Toronto Indy temporary street circuit (June 12-14), and Belardi team drivers Juan Piedrahita and Felix Serralles will be focused on bouncing back from a tough month of May in Indianapolis. Despite posting a new track record race lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Freedom 100, the team did not come away with the results that they were expecting after topping pre-race testing.
Heading into Toronto, the squad is ready to get back at it and put in a winning effort, as they were victorious in Canada in 2014. Serralles recorded his best finish of the year on the streets of Long Beach in California back in April, leading early before standing on the podium in third. This bodes well for the talented Puerto Rican pilot, who will be aiming for the top step this weekend. Piedrahita enjoyed success in Toronto during his progression up the MRTI ladder, finishing on the podium in Pro Mazda in 2012 and 2013, and this experience should provide him with an early advantage.
“Our team got off to a good start to the season on the opening two street circuit events of the year at St. Pete and Long Beach, with Felix showing top-five speed and then grabbing third in California,” offered Brian Belardi, Team Principal. “We’re satisfied with our temp circuit set-up and we’re focused on being quick right out of the trailer on Friday. Juan has experience on the track in both Pro Mazda and Indy Lights, so that should provide him with a little head-start on some of his competition, and Felix has already shown an ability to pick-up new tracks very quickly. I’m excited for the weekend. We won here last year with a rookie driver, and I’ve love to get our first win of 2015 too.”
This year’s Indy Lights season has seen virtually every team in the paddock riding the waves of highs and lows. The debut of the new Dallara IL-15 has put car set-up at a premium, and while certain teams have struggled at some tracks, Belardi has been very consistent in providing Juan and Felix with fast racecars each and every weekend. Luck has not been on the side of their drivers at each event, but they have posted the fastest lap of the race on more than one occasion, including the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the street circuits have been the team’s strong point. Both Piedrahita and Serralles have their best finishes of the year on temporary circuits.
Serralles will make his debut on Toronto’s 1.755-mile, 11-turn layout, but he was quick out of the gate at both St. Petersburg and Long Beach, which points to his ability to challenge for the race win this weekend. Piedrahita has made two starts at the Toronto Indy, finishing second and fourth in the Pro Mazda Championship in 2012 and third in the event in 2013. He was seventh last year in Indy Lights rookie season.
Belardi’s Indy Lights drivers will take to the temporary street circuit track for two practice sessions on Friday, June 12 (10:05 am / 5:25 pm). Qualifying is set for the Saturday morning (June 13) at 9:45 am ahead of the first race of the doubleheader at 4:45 pm. The second race will precede the Verizon IndyCar Series taking to the track for the main event, and it will be run at 11:45 in front of grandstands full of the knowledgeable Canadian fans.
BELARDI AUTO RACING — DRIVER INFORMATION
Felix Serralles – #4
Hometown: Ponce, Puerto Rico
Residence: Atlanta, Georgia
Sponsors: S&S Discount Tire, Sterling Performance, Skater Powerboats
Point Standings: 7th — 111 points
Best Finish: 3rd — Long Beach
Driver Quote: “I’m excited for this race. It’s good to be racing outside of the United States again. Hopefully we will have a good result.”
Juan Piedrahita – #5
Hometown: Bogota, Columbia
Residence: Indianapolis, Indiana
Sponsors: Petrosur, Coldeportes, Marca Columbia
Point Standings: 10th — 105 points
Best Finish: 6th — St. Petersburg — Race 1
Driver Input: “Toronto is one of the best tracks in the calendar. I’m excited to race here, as I have made several podiums in the past. I’m positive that we will have a great weekend.”