BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Jan. 24, 2002) - Bob Dorricott confirmed today that he has signed Dayton Indy Lights Championship veteran Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, to drive for Dorricott Racing in the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship. DÃaz will be...
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Jan. 24, 2002) - Bob Dorricott confirmed today that he has signed Dayton Indy Lights Championship veteran Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, to drive for Dorricott Racing in the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship. Díaz will be sponsored by Telmex, the most important telecommunications company in Latin America, and one of the largest telecommunications corporations in the world.
"Telmex supports the talent of Mexican young people who stand out in high competitive disciplines and with high probabilities to represent Mexico doing a magnificent job in international competitions.... this is the philosophy of our company" said Arturo Elías Ayub, Director of Strategic Alliances, Communication and Institutional Relations of Telmex.
Dorricott Racing also confirmed that Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., is returning for his second season with Dorricott Racing. Dorricott Racing plans to campaign a three-car effort in the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship with a third driver to be named at a later date.
The 24-year-old Diaz joins Dorricott Racing by virtue of a driver opening created when former Dorricott Racing star and 2001 Dayton Indy Lights champion, Townsend Bell, graduated to the ranks of the CART FedEx Championship with Patrick Racing. Former Dorricott Racing driver Damien Faulkner, of Ireland, has left the team to pursue options in other professional motorsports series'.
Díaz expressed his gratitude to Telmex in stating, "without doubt, this opportunity is decisive in my professional development as a driver. It will allow me to demonstrate my capabilities with a first class team with support that will reflect my full commitment in front of a company that competes with other big telecommunications corporations throughout the world."
Diaz proved his front-runner abilities in 2001 behind fourth place finishes at Texas Motor Speedway and Milwaukee. He also placed fifth at Toronto for his fourth top-five showing. Late race wet weather at Portland and Road Atlanta contributed to spins in races that otherwise would have seen Diaz reach the podium. Other highlights during the 2001 season included career-best qualifying of fourth at Portland and Laguna Seca.
Diaz's racing roots are in karting which he began in 1989 at age 12. He won several national championships in karts until moving into race cars after the 1995 season. Diaz's first shined in 1996 when he finished third place in the Mexican Formula Reynard series, and was named Rookie-of-the-Year with TeamGo/Mexico.
His success continued with TeamGo/Mexico in claiming Rookie-of-the-Year honors in the 1997 Mexican Formula 3 Championship. He then won the Mexican Formula 3 Championship in 1998.
Diaz fourth with TeamGo/Mexico in 1999 focused on the Mexican Indy Lights Panamerica Championship where he was earned Rookie-of-the-Year. However, he entered his first Dayton Indy Lights race at Laguna Seca where he qualified 20th and finished 10th. He improved more positions than any other driver during the race and earned the Dayton Move to the Front Award.
Diaz and TeamGo/Mexico Quaker Herdez ran full-time in the 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship. He scored a season best sixth place at Laguna Seca and sixth in qualifying at Chicago Motor Speedway enroute to 13th place in the Championship.
"We are very pleased to have Luis with Dorricott Racing," said Dorricott. "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 levels. 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."
Fogarty finished 11th place in 12-race 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship with 48 points, but was forced to miss six races due to an injury to his neck.
The 26-year-old driver of the Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards sponsored Atlantic in 2002 car caught the attention of many during his Indy Lights debut at Monterrey, Mexico, last year when he finished in third place finish. However, Fogarty announced at Mid-Ohio during round eight that he did not foresee completing the 2001 race season due to a herniated disk in his cervical vertebrae. He missed the three preceding consecutive races at Portland, Kansas, and Toronto, and subsequently did not race at Mid-Ohio and St. Louis.
Fogarty's return to competition at Road Atlanta in round 10 was a welcome surprise and added spice to the Dorricott Racing formula. He qualified on the outside pole and finished fifth. He then raced in round 11 at Laguna Seca and finished 2.963-seconds behind Bell for second place - an Indy Lights career best. However, medical concerns forced him to withdraw from the season final at California Speedway.
Fogarty finished in second place in the 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series with three wins and 155 points. He was fourth place in Barber Dodge competition in 1999.
Race results, team, and sponsor information are available on Dorricott Racing's official web site, http://www.dorricottracing.com. The 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship opens its season at the Monterrey Grand Prix in Monterrey, Mexico, on Saturday, March 9, 2002.