2000: ILP: Luis Diaz 'Mexican Grasshopper' moves to Atlantic series

Monterrey, N.L., January 25th, 2002 -- The worst kept secret in Mexican racing finally was confirmed today when Bob Dorricott, owner of the Indy Lights champions team Dorricott Racing, announced that he has signed Mexican driver Luis Diaz, to...

Monterrey, N.L., January 25th, 2002 -- The worst kept secret in Mexican racing finally was confirmed today when Bob Dorricott, owner of the Indy Lights champions team Dorricott Racing, announced that he has signed Mexican driver Luis Diaz, to drive for his team in the Toyota Atlantic series. Luis, popularly known as "Chapulín" (Mexican grasshopper) will be sponsored by Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex. Dorricott also confirmed Jon Fogarty, who ran with him in the Indy Lights 2001 championship, as driver of his second (in a three-car effort) car for the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship.

Bob declared: "We are very pleased to have Luis. His record in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship, as well as his record of success in other racing venues, clearly demonstrates his ability to race on the highest level. We look forward to a successful season with Luis behind the wheel. He has the tools and talent to make an immediate impact in Atlantic besides being a great addition to the team".

Luis is 24 years old, hails from Mexico City, and was national karting champion several times between 1989 and 1995. By 1996 he signed with the famous Team GO in Mexico and was in the Formula Reynard series (1.7 liter Renault-engined open-wheel racers) where he finished third and next year he climbed to the F3 where he also became rookie of the year. For 1998 he ran the Formula Mexico (old tubular Barber cars), where he became champion by beating Carlos Contreras (currently at NASCAR Trucks). In 1999 he ran half a season in the Panamerican Indy Lights (Lola T93-96 cars) and was, again, Rookie of the Year and the first Mexican driver to win in it. He also made his debut at the full Indy Lights championship at Laguna Seca finishing in tenth place.

Still with Team GO, he ran the full 2000 Indy Lights season, ending in 13th place after a season best sixth place at Laguna Seca, the only track he knew. Before the 2001 season he tested in Europe for Prost Junior F3000 team and also for Dorricott in California but ended signing with RoQuin Motorsports for a second campaign of Indy Lights, also with sponsorship by Telmex. The season was not as good and although he could mix it with the front runners, the team never gelled and his best was a fourth place. He had several offers but tested since late last year with Dorricott and they found a common ground. After signing with Dorricott, Luis declared: "This a hard earned seat and will allow me to show my full driving capability in a top team. I want to thank Telmex for their faith in me, and their support throughout the years. This season has to give me results to climb further up (to CART). It will be a hard one, lots of teams and good drivers, but I am confident I can succeed".

One last though about Luis. Back in the winter 1999-2000 he measured up against drivers like Adrián Fernández and PJ Jones both from CART, plus many top Mexican drivers in a small race to celebrate the inauguration of GoKartMania in Mexico City. They all ran their karts around a new, twisty track and at the end the winner was Luis, but not only was he the winner, he was two tenths faster than anyone else in his best lap. It might not mean anything, but it is likely we are witnessing another top Mexican driver in the making. Luis will make his debut in the Atlantic series in Monterrey, Saturday, March 9th, at the Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix in the Fundidora Park temporary circuit.

-CEJV-

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About this article
Series Atlantic , Formula Renault , Indy Lights , Kart , Other open wheel
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Jon Fogarty , Carlos Contreras , Luis Diaz