Mexican driver Juan Pablo Garcia will join Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for his third full-time season in the Indy Lights series, the team confirmed Friday. Garcia posted three top-five finishes during the 2013 season.
“Juan Pablo (Garcia) has been in Indy Lights for several seasons, and I think now is the ideal time for him to join SPM,” said Sam Schmidt, co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. “I have known and watched Juan Pablo ever since his first race with Michael Crawford, but those were only a few races at a time with no momentum to build on. Last season was the second year with a full program, and he made tremendous progress, but he still didn’t have the benefit of a full-time teammate.
“We believe he can be a consistent top-five finisher if we combine his experience, his desire to work hard and our program of multiple teammates and lots of information to work from. We want our eighth championship and fifth in a row! We know we have a big target on our back, so we must keep improving every year. We have an incredible group of individuals who truly work together as a team and always put winning first.”
Garcia, backed by sponsors International, Mapfre and AutoShow TV, will enter his third year of Indy Lights competition after running in Formula Renault 2000, A1 Grand Prix and British Formula 3.
“I’m absolutely delighted to race for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports,” Garcia said. “It’s a very prestigious team in the Indy Lights series, and they have always demonstrated that all their cars are always vying for podiums, victories and leading races, and every year they win a championship. They have good drivers, a good team of engineering and crew and, of course, great cars. It’s really hard to achieve that every single year.
“On the other hand, for the 2014 season the fact that I already know all the tracks we are going to race, it’s going to be a good advantage. However, an important change for this year is going to be the tires. I hope knowing both the car and the tracks is going to be a competitive advantage, which is going to help me to adapt easily to the new Cooper tires.
“My goal is to be fighting for the championship this season. I am in a team that has opportunities at their disposal and has demonstrated what they can achieve. I’ve demonstrated, too, that I have the speed to be competitive. Therefore, I anticipate that I will have all the necessary resources to be able to fight for wins. The fact that I will have teammates will be highly beneficial for all of us, as we can advance quickly with everybody testing different things.”
Garcia continues preseason testing with SPM Friday, Feb. 21 at NOLA Motorsports Park for the Cooper Tires Winterfest.