IndyLights: Jensen MotorSport Adds Serious Engineering Muscle

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Jensen MotorSport has already been showing some strength in the latter half of this season, but now they’ve grabbed another gear and are shooting for significant improvement. Today, the team announced the hiring of veteran GP2 engineer Raul Prados! Mr. Prados’ experiences includes working with top-shelf European open-wheel such as Carlin and iSport, and he engineered the winning car in the 2010 GP2 Asia series.

Most of all, I love Mr. Prados’ comments and optimism in regards to open-wheel racing in North America:

“This is an exciting new chapter of my career to join Jensen MotorSport, which has proven to be one of the top North American open-wheel racing teams. With a mix of road courses, street circuits, and ovals, IndyCar racing provides a very interesting challenge for race engineers.” — Raul Prados, Engineer for Jensen MotorSport

We often talk about how much of a challenge it is for drivers to compete consistently on the wide variety of circuits that are on the Mazda Road to Indy and IZOD IndyCar Series calendars, but we tend to ignore the fact that it’s a huge challenge for the race engineers and mechanics as well.

As team owner, Eric Jensen points out, this off-season will be more critical than in the past since for the first time in the modern iteration of the Indy Lights series, they will run on something other than Firestone rubber. Having an experienced engineer like Prados will be a significant benefit to the team. Whether that will be enough to overcome the juggernaut that is Sam Schmidt Motorsports is uncertain, but it could very easily put them in a position of scoring podiums on a regular basis in 2012.

Prados will get his first taste of Firestone Indy Lights racing when he joins the team for the 2011 season finale at Las Vegas. Oh, by the way, he’s one hell of a guitarist as well! Perhaps some impromptu jam sessions in the paddock are in order? Would be a good way to introduce yourself to the IndyCar circus, Raul!

Release from Jensen Motorsport

RENOWNED GP2 ENGINEER RAUL PRADOS JOINS JENSEN MOTORSPORT

29 September 2011…/Jensen MotorSport is pleased to announce that Raul Prados – one of the top race engineers in the Formula 1 feeder series GP2 – will join our Firestone Indy Lights Championship racing team for the 2012 season.

Raul Prados (31) has been Race Engineer for the Carlin GP2 team in the 2011 season. Previously, Raul was Race Engineer for the successful iSport team including winning the 2010 GP2 Asia championship with his driver David Valsecchi. A native of Valencia Spain, Raul has a University degree in Mechanical Engineering, and extensive engineering experience with top teams in various European formula championships.

“This is an exciting new chapter of my career to join Jensen MotorSport, which has proven to be one of the top North American open-wheel racing teams”, said Prados. “With a mix of road courses, street circuits, and ovals, IndyCar racing provides a very interesting challenge for race engineers.”

Jensen MotorSport team owner Eric Jensen states, “With a new specification tyre being introduced for the 2012 championship, this off-season will be a race of a different kind as teams work to optimize new set-ups. We expect the addition of the highly skilled engineer Raul Prados to pay big dividends for our competitiveness as Raul integrates his technical knowledge and processes from his GP2 experience including SIM programs and computer-based models.”

The Firestone Indy Lights Championship www.indycar.com/roadtoindy is the top open-wheel development series in North America. Primarily competing at events together with the Izod IndyCar Series, the 2011 schedule included such high-profile races as the Long Beach Grand Prix, St. Pete Grand Prix, Honda Indy Toronto, Las Vegas Grand Prix, and an event together with IndyCar at the Indianapolis 500.

Prados, who will begin with the Jensen MotorSport team at the 2011 season ending race at Las Vegas, will also be working with young drivers being developed by Jensen MotorSport – including American driver Ryan Tveter – with winter testing programs and the USF2000 winter series races in Florida at the Sebring and Palm Beach circuits in February 2012.

Jensen MotorSport has two races remaining in the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights championship season including Kentucky Speedway and Las Vegas Speedway. Canadian driver David Ostella drives the #16 Global Precast Team Jensen entry, and British driver Oliver Webb drives the #12 ExpoSystems Team Jensen entry.

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