no images were foundThe engines and tyres have barely had time to cool down from the The Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test that took place yesterday and today on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield road course and we’re already seeing driver signings for 2013. Peter Dempsey has had a tough few years in the Mazda Road to Indy program, his last full-season ride being with AIM Motorsports for the 2009 Star Mazda season. In 2010, he returned to his native Ireland and ran Formula Ford events for his father’s team, Cliff Dempsey Racing. Just when it looked like things were turning around, after landing a full-season drive with O2 Racing Technologies in the Firestone Indy Lights series, but then Milwaukee happened. O2RT’s team principle, Mark Olsen, withdrew his team from the event in protest to alleged favouritism from the league and lack of transparency in the officiating. Once again Dempsey was on the outside looking in.
In the early part of 2012, Dempsey returned to the cockpit to run two races for Rodin Younessi, owner of several high-end auto and Harley-Davidson dealerships in Florida. The partnership was a bad match right from the start as Peter had good speed, but seemed to be hobbled by the decision making, and the scanty resources of the team’s owner and wannabe racer. Finally, in the last portion of the 2012 season, Dempsey finally connected with a quality team, Belardi Auto Racing, and raced very competitively in the final five races, taking three top-five finishes.
no images were foundDempsey now returns to Belardi Auto Racing for the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season beginning on the Streets of St. Petersburg next March. It’s good to see Dempsey return to the series in good equipment for what we hope will be a full season. Dempsey is definitely quick, aggressive, and a thrill to watch on the track. Belardi has also struggled with driver consistency the last couple of years with its drivers either struggling with sponsorship or with performance. This really seems to be a good fit for both parties, and I’m definitely excited about getting the opportunity to cheer on a fellow Irishman next season!
Dempsey Signs with Belardi Auto Racing for 2013 Season
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. (October 11, 2012) – Belardi Auto Racing is very pleased to announce their first driver signing for the upcoming 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season.
Veteran of the series and touted as one-to-watch by many, 26-year-old Peter Dempsey from Ashbourne, Ireland returns to the Brownsburg, IN-based team for a full-season ride in 2013. The winningest driver of the Star Mazda series, as well as a three-time winner of the coveted Walter Hayes Trophy, Dempsey longed to find a permanent seat in the third step of the Mazda Road to Indy for three seasons and has now found one in Belardi Auto Racing.
“First off I want to thank Brian [Belardi], team manager John Brunner and everyone at Belardi Auto Racing who has made this possible,” said Dempsey. “They gave me a great opportunity to drive for the team at the end of the 2012 season, and that was a very enjoyable end to my year.
When I came to the team, I really felt at home and wanted; that is a great feeling for me. After our last race at Fontana, Belardi was the team I wanted to remain with and grow with, and I am very excited that we are in the position to announce this signing so early. This really gives us the chance to properly prepare for the first race next season. For me, this is the first time in my American motorsport career where I have had a secure ride, and I could not be happier to have that with Belardi Auto Racing.”
Making his debut with B.A.R. in Toronto earlier this year, Dempsey made five starts with team and finished in the Top Five three times; Dempsey was forced to retire the other two events. The Irishman also gave the young team its highest finish of 2012 in his debut race on the streets of downtown Toronto when he finished in fourth.
“I cannot express how happy I am to have Peter back with our team in 2013,” team owner Brian Belardi said. “He is one of the most talented drivers in the Firestone Indy Lights series, and we will give him all the tools necessary to help him be successful. The entire team is looking forward to working with Peter again.”
The team will embark on their third season in Firestone Indy Lights in 2013, but until then you can follow their off-season progress by following them on Twitter and ‘liking’ them on Facebook. Belardi Auto Racing plan to continue testing throughout the off-season following their participation in the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where Dempsey topped the charts Wednesday until the final lap of the second session, and today where the Irishman dominated the morning session and came away third in the afternoon.