BROWNSBURG, Ind. (September 6, 2017) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that the team will enter a second car in the Verizon IndyCar Series season-finale GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma September 15-17 for Indy Lights driver Zachary Claman DeMelo, 19, who will make his series debut. DeMelo, who is from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, earned four podium finishes in the 2017 Indy Lights season, including a win at Road America, and finished fifth in series standings. Paysafe, a leading global payments provider, will be the primary partner of the No. 16 Honda.
“I’m thrilled to be driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for my IndyCar Series debut at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma,” said Zachary Claman DeMelo. “This opportunity marks an incredible moment for my career and for Canadian motorsport fans, as I’m getting that much closer to securing a full-time position with RLLR for next season. I want to extend a big thank you to my primary partner, Paysafe, for making a dream come true today and to Bobby Rahal for the incredible level of support he has provided towards getting me in the #16 Honda this season. It is an honor to drive for RLLR and I look forward to big things ahead.”
“We’re pleased that Zach has chosen Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to make his series debut,” added Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. “Zach had a very good year in the Indy Lights Series and we think that he has the ability to perform well in the IndyCar Series. We closely watched his performance at the recent Indy car test at Road America where he was the quickest of the rookies testing and we are confident that he can do a good, solid job for both himself and the team at Sonoma. Our goals for Zach are that he has a good, consistent race and gains experience, which is so important, and hopefully takes that experience to use as a stepping stone for 2018.”
About Zachary Claman DeMelo
Zach began his campaign to reach the highest tiers of motorsports in 2006 at eight years of age, when he was discovered by a group of professional drivers at the local go-karting track, and at 12 years old, Zach seized his first Canadian National Karting Championship. By 2015 at the age of 16, Zach claimed two additional Canadian National Championships, finished 3rd at the Rotax World Karting Championship, and made the jump to open-wheel racing in Europe’s Formula 3 MSV Cup, where he posted an undefeated record while only competing part-time. In 2016 at the age of 17, Zach landed his first full-time open-wheel drive in the Indy Lights Series – the Verizon IndyCar Series’ official feeder series, with the 2015 defending champions Juncos Racing.
Zach’s results during his rookie Indy Lights season drew the attention of Carlin Motorsports, the 2016 defending Indy Lights champions. Upon signing with Carlin for his sophomore season in Indy Lights, Zach earned his first Indy Lights race win, four podium finishes, set the fastest lap of the race three times – including two track records — and delivered seven top-5 and 14 top-10 finishes. He was the lone driver to finish in the top six or better eight consecutive times.
About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Brownsburg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2017 the team will compete in their 26th year of open wheel competition and attempt to add to their 23 wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice — their 29 poles, 91 podium finishes and 1992 series championship. The team also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 – Manufacturer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. In 2014, BMW Team RLL moved to the GTLM class of the United SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and earned six podium finishes including four second-place finishes. In 2015, the team earned three wins, two poles and a total of eight podiums to finish second in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships and in 2016, BMW Team RLL added two poles and three podiums with their BMW M6 GTLM entries to bring their total to 13 wins, 22 poles and 60 podium finishes. The team has earned two wins and a total of five podium finishes to date in 2017.
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