A rising young star of the motorsport scene will be moving stateside this year as Alessandro Latif joins World Speed Motorsports in the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship.
Latif, who has been something of a sensation in recent seasons with storming drives in Audi R8 GT cars the world over, will be progressing on America’s premier single seater ladder.
Following in the footsteps of former driver coach Jack Hawksworth – who started in Pro Mazda before graduating to the Verizon IndyCar Series – Latif will be hoping for a similar sort of progression.
He said: “Since graduating from karts at the end of 2011, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to explore a number of different disciplines within the sport – from single-seaters to sportscars and tin-tops.
“I’ve competed in some of motorsport’s biggest races and learned a tremendous amount that has helped to make me a more rounded driver.
“With the benefit of that experience under my belt, I feel the timing is now right to turn my attentions towards forging a long-term career in open-wheel racing, and the Mazda Road to Indy programme offers fantastic opportunities for progression.
“There is a very clear path laid out from Pro Mazda through to the pinnacle of the IndyCar Series, which is hugely motivating – and you need only look at somebody like Jack Hawksworth, who used to coach me back in my karting days, to see what can be achieved.”
For Latif, the first true challenge following a winter of testing, is the Winterfest event at the NOLA Motorsports Park this weekend (19/20 February) where he will be hoping the GT experience he has gained recently – he finished an excellent fifth in-class at the Bathurst 12 Hours – can be translated into single seater success.
Sharing the confidence in the 18-year-old, who has deferred his first year of university to move to the States, is World Speed Motorsports boss Telo Stewart.
He said: “We are excited to have Alessandro with us in the Pro Mazda Championship in 2015. We have had a solid amount of testing and preparation and feel good about where we are going into the season. He still needs to learn the tracks and the series is very competitive, but we know we will do well this year with him in the #14 car.”