Today, Belardi Auto Racing announced that Jorge Goncalvez would join Anders “The Viking” Krohn to round out their 2011 Firestone Indy Lights driver roster. Jorge has made it to the Firestone Indy Lights series through a somewhat unique route. While he has has some experience in karting, beginning in 2006, he also started racing cars that same year. He ran one race in the Formula Renault 1.6 Panam GP Series and made the podium! Not bad for your first time out. He then moved to Formula Renault Campus France in 2007 where his results were mid-pack. In 2008, he started racing here in America competing in the Formula BMW Americas series where he raced for Apex-HBR racing and again return mid-pack results, but it should be noted that his results were very consistent finishing in sixth place in most races. In 2009 and 2010, Jorge competed in the Star Mazda Championship. In 2009, Jorge again found himself mid-pack with a couple of top-five finishes, still with Team Apex. In 2010, however, something seemed to click. In last year’s Star Mazda Championship season, Jorge scored no less than five podiums and finished fourth in the championship points. His positive finish in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship has earned him the opportunity to race in the Firestone Indy Lights series with Belardi Auto Racing, and it just goes to show how well the Mazda Road to Indy program is beginning to work.
“I am very pleased to have this opportunity to move up to Firestone Indy Lights. I know this will be a big challenge for me, but I am confident that with the support of the talented crew around me that I will do my countrymen proud. I’m really looking forward to the season and to working with all the guys at Belardi and to being a part of the Firestone Indy Lights Series…to compete with so many great drivers at such incredible venues.” — Jorge Gonclavez
One thing that may easy Jorge’s transition into the higher power Firestone Indy Lights machine is that his driver coach, Rod MacLeod, and his engineer, Louis D’Agostino, are also joining the Belardi Auto Racing team. Consistency in personnel like that can only benefit Jorge’s chances this season. As we mentioned when talking of Juncos Racing’s pre-season boot camp, having good communication with your engineeer can be critical for the success of a young driver. That understanding certainly wasn’t lost on Belardi Auto Racing’s Team Owner, Brian Belardi.
“It’s all about continuity! It’s continuity that wins championships – so we’ve worked hard at surrounding our drivers with people that they already have a short-hand with, a confidence… Like Rod and Louis for Jorge and Mike Reggio and Larry Nash for Anders. I think this will be the key to helping these drivers find success in their first year in Firestone Indy Lights.” — Team Owner, Brian Belardi
Good luck to both of the Belardi Auto Racing drivers. The pairing of Krohn and Gonclavez, although both rookies to the series, seems like it could be a good fit. We’ll just have to wait and see how the open test at Barber Motorsports Park turns out here in the near future.