So, with the season only three short months away the Indy Lights field is starting to take shape. As of this writing there are five confirmed driver/team pairings, and ten cars participated in the open test at Sebring International Raceway with some promise of more to come.
Earlier it had looked that a 12 to 14 car field was possible, and after the Sebring test it’s starting to look like 2014 could exceed that estimate. It didn’t get much press but Andretti Autosport had three cars at the Sebring test. If they run three cars all season it pushes the car count to thirteen with additional entries possible from O2 Racing, owner/driver Matthew Di Leo and Pabst Racing. The count I have now is Schmidt (3) Andretti (3) Belardi (2) Fan Force United (2) Team More (2) Brian Herta Autosport (1)
Among the expected names at the Sebring test was a surprise entry for Vittorio Ghirelli driving for Andretti Autosport. Ghirelli is an Italian driver whose biggest accomplishment to date is winning the Auto GP World Championship. He’s a 19-year-old with extensive European karting experience.
Luiz Razia has probably the arguably the best record of any remaining free agent. Razi has five GP2 wins to his credit and finished second in that series in 2012. He looked set to run with Marussia this year in Formula One, but he had “Contractual Issues,” — read his money didn’t come through — and he lost his seat. With his chance at Formula One likely gone Indycar is a good move. He could end up in either lights or the big show. He tested with Schmidt at Sebring and has said he’s exploring rides in both Indycar and Lights.
Columbian Juan Piedrahita also tested for Sam Schmdit at the Sebring test and may be funded by Petrosur, a South American trade promoting company. If they’re still sponsoring him it explains the test because he’s not moving up on merit. He finished ninth, out of nine full time drivers in the 2013 Pro Mazada championship.
There’s also the possibility that Kyle O’Gara will show up in a part time or full time ride. The 19-year-old is the brother-in-law of Indycar team owner Sarah Fisher and competed at Indy and Fontana in 2013.
The next Indy Lights test is scheduled for Feb. 21/22, and by then we should start to get a better look at the Indy Lights field.
Here’s my list of expected entries, confirmed teams are in bold.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
42 Jack Harvey Racing Steps Foundation
26 Zach Veach RePlay/ADS/Zakosi Data Backup
27 Vittorio Ghirelli
83 Matthew Braham United Fiber and Data
Belardi Auto Racing
4 Alex Baron
5 Gabby Chaves
Brian Herta Autosport
28 Lloyd Read
2 Zach Myer
Fan Force United
24 Scott Anderson
Potential full or part time entries
56 Matthew Di Leo
Combined Results from Jan. 7-8 test at Sebring International Raceway.