Belardi Auto Racing is bringing a new face to its lineup for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in 2014. 16-year-old Florian Latorre, a young Frenchman who made his American racing debut last year in the USF2000 series, will fill Belardi’s third seat alongside Canadian karting standout Daniel Burkett and Skip Barber notable Danilo Estrela of Brazil.
Latorre, began his racing career karting in France, and in 2009 he clinched the French Cadet Championship title in his inaugural season. For the next two years he participated in the French and Belgium KF3 Junior Championships and he became a champion once again. In 2011 the French teenager won the IAME X30 Junior European Championship and the World IAME X30 Junior Championship. In 2012 he made the transition to cars and ran in the French Formula 4 National Auto Sport Academy and earned the title Rookie of the Year.
In his first season in the Mazda Road to Indy program, Latorre had 10 top-10 finishes, five of which were within the top-5. In the 14-race season, Latorre’s best finish was second with one other 3rd place podium. Florian finished his rookie season sixth in points in the USF2000 Championship standings. He’s looking forward to joining Belardi’s lineup next year.
“Florian’s results last season immediately impressed me,” said Belardi. “He finished outside of the top-10 only 4 times in his rookie season and had a number of top-5 finishes. He certainly has the potential to win races this upcoming year and I can see him as a championship contender in 2014. We’re grateful to have him join our team this season, since I know he has a lot to bring to the table.”
“After my first season in USF2000 this year where I learned a lot, I am extremely pleased to join the Belardi team for 2014. It is certain that we will work very hard to win the maximum possible of races and, of course, the championship. It will be my goal for next year. I’m already in a hurry to join my new team in a few days. I would particularly like to thank Brian Belardi for his confidence, Thierry Germanovitch my manager (13th Avenue) for his super job and of course my family who support me years after years. I am today very proud to be a Belardi driver.”
The Libourne born teenager, managed by 13eme Avenue, will be back in action in March at the USF2000 season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.