Homestead, Fla. (February 23, 2018) – Team Pelfrey announced this morning that Brazilian driver Rafael “Rafa” Martins will begin the 2018 season with Team Pelfrey in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

The 19-year-old was a standout rookie with TRS Arden in the 2016 F4 British Championship, winning at Oulton Park and tallying two podium finishes during the season. Martins comes to the United States for the first time, seeking to become a professional race car driver via the Mazda Road to Indy and Team Pelfrey.

Rafael Martins will be joining the 2018 Pro Mazda Presented By Cooper Tire series with Team Pelfrey (Photo Courtesy of Team Pelfrey)

“My goal is to become a professional driver and to be the best I can be,” said Martins.

“This whole process started when my manager, Luigi Di Nizo, had another driver he was managing that drove for Team Pelfrey and had a good year and a great experience here (Team Pelfrey). We feel this is a great opportunity to take the next step in my career.”

“Tony Kanaan has kept an eye on Rafa’s steps for the last few years and is helping Rafa transition to North American open-wheel racing and the Road to Indy,” said Di Nizo.

When asked about the rookie’s talent and signing, General Manager of Team Pelfrey, Jonny Baker said, “Rafael is an excellent addition to Team Pelfrey and the Mazda Road to Indy. He’s a proven race winner in Europe, and we have been impressed with his all-around performance both in and out of the car.  I’m sure making the move to North America is an exciting one for him, and Pro Mazda is definitely shaping up to be competitive in 2018.”

Martins joins his two Pro Mazda rookie teammates, Sting Ray Robb and Andres Gutierrez, for the Road to Indy Spring Training event at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday and Sunday. You can follow the timing and scoring system by downloading the Road to Indy TV app, or by going to RoadToIndy.TV.