As we approach the Mazda Road to Indy Winterfest, the driver announcements are starting to come in! Juncos Racing, a stalwart in the Pro Mazda Championship, has announced the first member their 2014 team. Julia Ballario will join the team beginning in March on the Streets of St. Petersburg. Ms. Ballario is be the first Argentinian woman to race in the US, and comes to the Pro Mazda Championship with a significant amount of experience in both open-wheel formula cars and in touring cars, and competed with Juncos in Pro Mazda in 2013 at Mid-Ohio and Trois-Rivières.
Looking ahead, I anticipate some difficulty with the oval courses as I have yet to test or race on that type of circuit. However, I remain enthusiastic and optimistic nonetheless. I’m ready to face any challenges that may present themselves.
I want to thank everyone for helping me and for supporting me throughout my career—from easing my transition to a new country, to giving me guidance in the sport, and everything in between. To the Juncos Racing members, Pistas Argentinas, Roberto Alons,o, and my family—thank you for everything. In addition to facing challenges in the sport, living in a new country presents challenges of its own. I’m beyond grateful to have a great team on and off the track to steer me in the right direction. Finally, I want to give a big ‘thank you’ to all the Argentinean artists, whose are I will be displaying on my race car this season.” — Julia Ballario, Juncos Racing
Release from Juncos Racing
Brownsburg, IN (February 10, 2014) — Competing as Argentina’s first female driver to race in the United States, twenty-one-year-old Julia Ballario makes her debut this year in the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires. In addition to paving the road for other Argentinian female drivers, Ballario also makes another “first” in becoming Juncos Racing’s first Argentinian driver.
Ballario first tested with Juncos Racing in the fall of 2012, where she participated in the Second Annual Chris Griffiths Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Open Test held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. During the two-day test, she proved her ability to learn the open-wheel car, she continued to log quicker lap times, and she placed 8th quick overall among fellow drivers. The following year, Ballario joined Juncos Racing again in the official series test held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May.
Ballario’s racing career took off in the early 2000s, where she competed in numerous karting races throughout South America. Down the road, she competed in the 2006 Argentine Championship in Santiago del Estero, earning podium finishes in both Provincial and Federal Championships. The year 2007 marked her switch to Formula Renault Plus racing, where she gained recognition as Best Woman Driver in Federados Amateur Class. Throughout the next several years, Ballario continued to compete in Formula Renault Plus. After continued success on the track, two top 5- and four top 6-finishes rounded out her 2012 season in the TC 2000. Ballario made her name known throughout South American racing.
“I’m very happy to have Julia committed for the full season in Pro Mazda,” mentioned team owner Ricardo Juncos. “She completed two races with us last season. Undeterred by insufficient time to practice beforehand, she managed to leave us with a strong impression of her capabilities on the track.” Alluding to her natural ability, Juncos added, “I foresee Julia showing persistent growth as the season progresses.”
Fellow Argentinian Ricardo Juncos also pointed out, “She will become the first ever woman from Argentina to race in the USA, and she is the first Argentinean driver on our team. I’m looking forward to working with her this season.”
The team kicks off the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires at the end of March in St. Petersburg, Florida.