INDIANAPOLIS: A cancer survivor will make his Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires debut in 2016 with championship team Andretti Autosport.
Bitish racing standout Dean Stoneman, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer at 20 years old in 2011, still seen one of the most gifted drivers of his generation, will pilot the No. 27 Stellrecht Mazda driving alongside team-mates Shelby Blackstock and Dalton Kellett. His Formula One ambitions were actually put on hold by his battle with cancer.
“Dean is a true raw talent and has an incredible, inspirational story,” Andretti Autosport Chief Executive Officer Michael Andretti said. “I can’t think of a better fit for our Indy Lights team and the Mazda Road to Indy Program for the 2016 season. We look forward to working with Dean and helping to grow his career in US open-wheel racing.”
Stoneman is a race winner in nearly every category he has competed in, including capturing the F2 Championship in 2010. On course to obtain a coveted Formula One career, Stoneman’s drive was put on hold when diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer at the age of 20, sending him on a 12-month battle to recovery.
While starting on the road to recuperation, the Southampton resident took a two-day test session with Andretti’s Indy Lights effort in 2012 before returning to the seat full time 2013 in the highly competitive Porsche Carerra Cup GB Championship. Stoneman’s long anticipated return to racing continued into 2014 as the GP3 Series vice champion and on to 2015 with competition in the World Series by Renault 3.5.
“I’m delighted to be racing in the US this year,” said Stoneman. “We have been looking at racing here for a while now and to have finally secured a seat with Andretti in Indy Lights is a fantastic move for me. This season will form the first step towards racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. One of the motivating factors of coming here is the The Mazda Road to Indy program. Rewarding success and assisting progression to the next level of the sport is great and can make a huge difference to a driver’s long-term career in racing.”
The 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship begins March 13 with the opening round of competition on the streets of Saint Petersburg, Florida. Andretti Autosport will field three full-season Indy Lights entries with Blackstock, Kellett and Stoneman while a fourth entry remains in the works.