Reigning Formula 3 European champion Felix Rosenqvist will set out on an American adventure as part of an extensive racing programme in 2016, competing for Belardi Auto Racing in the IndyCar-supporting Indy Lights series.
Rosenqvist’s deal comes in the wake of a promising test in Homestead, Miami, at the end of January, in which the 24-year-old Swede topped the timesheets on his maiden outing with Belardi. He will join experienced Indy Lights racer Zach Veach (USA), third overall in 2014, at the Indiana-based team.
Rosenqvist is currently on site in Phoenix, Arizona, where pre-season testing continues at the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday.
”I’m really excited about racing in the US this year, and doing so with Belardi Auto Racing,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “Testing went very well and I got to grips with the car pretty much straight away. I like the way the team operates, and the racing seems a lot of fun with a wide variety of circuits and pure driving. Racing on this side of the world will be very different to what I’m used to, but certainly a challenge I’m already relishing.”
Indy Lights is the final rung on the Mazda Road to Indy career ladder, aimed at feeding drivers into the top-level IndyCar Series. The Indy Lights champion is awarded a $1 million scholarship towards an IndyCar campaign the following year, along with three guaranteed race outings – including one at the world-famous Indianapolis 500.
Indy Lights sports a distinctly diverse calendar, with races divided between street tracks, ovals and road courses. The season-opener takes place on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 11-13. The cars are built by Dallara and fitted with 500-bhp engines.
Alongside his American commitments, Rosenqvist will maintain a strong European presence in 2016, with further details set to be announced later in the week.
”I’ve been overwhelmed by the interest people have shown in my situation over the winter,” Rosenqvist concludes. “It’s amazing to see that kind of support, and I’m happy to say that I’m perfectly pleased with the programme we have managed to put together for this season. The full details will follow within the next few days, but one thing is for sure: this will be my busiest year yet.”