Santiago Urrutia will take his fourth shot at winning the Indy Lights championship when he returns after a one-year layoff to join the emerging HMD Motorsports team.
The fast and fiery Uruguayan, who earned eight wins across three seasons spent with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Belardi Auto Racing, joins his third team in an effort to capture the $1 million advancement prize on offer for the Indy Lights champion to kickstart an NTT IndyCar Series career.
The 2015 Pro Mazda champion spent 2019 on the open-wheel sideline after coming close to landing part-time rides in IndyCar. Having shown the necessary speed to play in IndyCar, the 23-year-old will serve as a veteran teammate to teenager David Malukas who impressed as a rookie with the family-run team last year. If demonstrated, improved consistency and maturity would make Urrutia an immediate title contender with HMD.
“I have worked extremely hard to be back in the Indy Lights paddock as my ultimate goal is IndyCar,” Urrutia said. “The HMD Motorsports team is on the rise, and in my opinion, a major threat for the championship. I am happy to be reunited with my engineer from the past, Tim Neff, and working with David Malukas. I can’t wait to get the season started.”
Former Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing man John Cummiskey ran the outfit through the end of last season, and after his recent departure, A.J. Smith has been promoted to take the reins and steer the program.
“Santiago will be a great asset to the team in 2020,” Smith said. “Over the years, he has competed in numerous championships and has always been able to battle for wins and been one of the top drivers in the field, and we are expecting nothing less in 2020.”