Notes: Belardi forms development partnership with Schmidt Peterson team

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Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has formed a driver development program partnership with Indy Lights team Belardi Auto Racing that will launch with this weekend’s doubleheader at Barber Motorsports Park.

The No. 5 Arrow Electronics Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15 driven by Santi Urrutia in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires will feature the same livery as the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda driven by James Hinchcliffe in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“This new program with Belardi Auto Racing is all about assisting young talented drivers any way we can to get them to the Verizon IndyCar Series,” said Schmidt Peterson Motorsports co-owner Sam Schmidt. “Santi did a great job for (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) in 2016, coming just one point shy of becoming an (Verizon IndyCar Series) driver this year. Brian Belardi has a great history of doing everything possible with talented drivers, like Gabby Chaves and Zach Veach, so we think this is a great fit. Arrow Electronics and their guests will now have another car to cheer for this season.”

Urrutia and his No. 5 Arrow Electronics Belardi Auto Racing car will take the green flag at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday and 12:45 p.m. ET on Sunday for the Grand Prix of Alabama doubleheader. Hinchcliffe and his signature black and gold Honda can be seen broadcast live on NBC Sports Network at 3 p.m. Sunday for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

“I'm very excited for this combined effort,” Belardi Auto Racing owner Brian Belardi said. “I'm looking forward to the partnership with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and having the Arrow Electronics name on our No. 5 car. I believe this new collaboration is a great step forward for the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder program. I’m very proud with the fact that our former drivers like Gabby Chaves and Zach Veach will be in this year’s Indianapolis 500, and I know that this new driver development program will help graduate more of the Belardi family into the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

Road to Indy app available on Xbox one

After becoming the first American racing series with a dedicated broadcast channel on demand via Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku last April, Mazda Road to Indy TV today announced another landmark. The Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will now be the first open-wheel racing series to have an Official App on Xbox One.

Developed by JP Manterola, CEO of Pro Racing Group and Executive Director of Mazda Road to Indy TV, and his team, the Xbox One App brings all of the racing action and behind-the-scenes content from the Mazda Road to Indy into televisions around the world.

All three levels of the driver development ladder system – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – will be featured on the Xbox One App.

“With the launch of our Xbox App, we’re not only spearheading a new medium that provides free accessibility to viewers worldwide, but we’re delivering an experience into the heart of their home,” said Manterola. “In the U.S. alone, 65 percent of households own a video game console, so we are excited to witness how this will impact the next generation of racing fans.

“We are providing an exciting community for our viewers that makes them feel inclusive and exclusive simultaneously.”

The Xbox One App complements the Mazda Road to Indy TV App currently available for mobile devices, and provides an expansion and accessibility to users that are not utilizing current mediums.

“Road to Indy TV has done a fantastic job with the new Xbox One App,” said Belardi Auto Racing’s Shelby Blackstock. “It is very accessible and easy to use. It's a great way for fans to keep up with current and past seasons, along with off-track video footage.”

“The Xbox One App helps us to reach a key target audience by expanding to platforms utilized by young adults,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “We are excited to roll out the new App in time for our races at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend.”

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