Dec 12, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT
Mazda Road to Indy competitors Spencer Pigot (Orlando, Fla.) and Neil Alberico (Los Gatos, Calif.) have been chosen as the inaugural representatives for Rising Star Racing, a new organization that plans to provide funding and support for select young drivers as they move up the racing ladder.
IndyCar Series veteran Josef Newgarden has also signed on as not only an ambassador for the group but also as a mentor for the two young American drivers, both in and out of the cockpit.
“The driving is just one side of what we do,” Newgarden said. “Having a skill set that allows you to be effective on the marketing and business side, that can be just as important as what you are capable of doing in the car.
“I was fortunate to have the help and advice that I did as I moved up, and it is important to me to try to provide that kind of help to Spencer and Neil and whomever else that comes into this program. I want it to be successful for a very long time.”
Pigot and Alberico will both contest the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship, which serves as the second rung on the MRTI ladder behind the top-tier IndyCar Series and the Indy Lights development category.
For the 20-year-old Pigot, it’ll be his second season in Pro Mazda after finishing fourth in the 2013 championship with one win to his credit at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. 21-year-old Alberico collected six wins en route to finishing second in the USF2000 championship this past year, and will be a Pro Mazda rookie.
Both drivers are excited to be part of the Rising Star program.
“Rising Star Racing is the kind of program we all dream about being involved with and I’m really looking forward to this season,” said Pigot.
“We are already testing for next year and I know how important any seat time is, and this will give us the chance to run for the Winterfest Championship in February,” said Alberico.
The Rising Star initiative will be managed by Brian Bonner, who competed in the 1992 Indianapolis 500 and has been working with Newgarden for several years through his Bonner Race Marketing company.
Capital will be provided by Indianapolis businessman Art Wilmes, who mentioned that the group was looking for “drivers who are long on talent but short on resources.”
“Our goal is to provide talented young open wheel drivers with the support they need and allow their talent to win out,” said Wilmes. “We want to help them get to IndyCar, the highest level for American open wheel racing.”
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