SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST DRIVER FOR 2008 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports has announced today that it has signed 22-year old Brazilian Ana Beatriz, aka "Bia," to drive one of its Indy Pro Series machines for ...
SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST DRIVER FOR 2008
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports has announced today that it has signed 22-year old Brazilian Ana Beatriz, aka "Bia," to drive one of its Indy Pro Series machines for the 2008 season.
The announcement was the first in a series of announcements expected to be made in the next few weeks concerning the team's driver lineup.
"We're excited about bringing Bia on-board with us for this next season," team owner Sam Schmidt said. "She is very focused on succeeding in the Indy Pro Series. With the tools we'll provide her along with her own determination to learn, we're confident she'll do a great job this year."
Beatriz, from São Paulo, has raced since she was eight years of age and has had years of success in Brazil's karting championships and formula car ladder.
She has three years of experience in the Brazilian Formula Renault series, highlighted with earning rookie of the year honors in 2003 and having three wins and four pole positions in the 2005 season.
The São Paulo Citizen Driver Award was given to her in 2006, and she has been awarded three coveted "Gold Helmet" awards -- an award considered to be one of the highest honors in Brazil.
In April of 2007, she made her debut at the A1GP race in Shanghai, China, driving her home country's car during one of the practice sessions.
"I'm really happy to be in the U.S.," Beatriz said. "I've always kept up with Andre Ribeiro, Tony Kanaan, Vitor Meira, and Helio Castroneves. They've told me how great it is over here and how very competitive it is.
"I'm extremely happy to be here in such a competitive series with the best team there is in Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Hopefully, if things go well, there could be a possibility of running Indy next year. I'm just very proud right now, and I can't thank these guys enough."
Beatriz is managed by another Brazilian who left his mark on American open-wheel racing in the late 90s, Andre Ribeiro.
He finished 18th in the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and earned Honda's first victory in Indy-style competition later that year in New Hampshire.
Currently, Beatriz is in the process of relocating to Indianapolis and settling in to be closer with the team.
Since beginning competition in the Indy Pro Series in 2003, Sam Schmidt Motorsports has become the dominating force having won three of the last four driver championships along with holding the series record for most wins (23).
The 2008 Indy Pro Series season kicks off its 16-race schedule on March 29th at the Homestead-Miami Speedway where the team will enter as defending race and series champions.