20-year-old Canadian driver Devlin DeFrancesco will return to North America in 2020 for a championship assault on the Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires series with Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport.
The Toronto-born Italian/Canadian DeFrancesco grew up in Florida and began his karting career at the age of six. He moved to London and Italy before becoming a teen to compete at racing’s highest level.
He recently competed in the FIA Formula 3 Championship, followed by the FIA Formula 3 Asian Championship over the “winter break” between 2019 and 2020, capturing three podiums and one pole position. His season ultimately came to a halt in early 2020 out of precaution for the ongoing global health crisis.
DeFrancesco will begin his own “Road to Indy” campaign starting at Road America on July 9-10.
The co-effort of Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport last entered the Road to Indy with Colton Herta in the 2018 Indy Lights season. The team finished second in the series championship and captured victory at the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With the Indy Lights championship on hiatus in 2020, DeFrancesco will contest the Indy Pro 2000 series this year with a planned Indy Lights graduation with Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport in 2021.
Andretti Autosport has a deep history in Indy Pro 2000 [formerly known as Pro Mazda/Star Mazda], from 2011 to 2015 capturing 32 victories, 32 pole positions and bringing home the series championship in 2013 with Matthew Brabham.
DeFrancesco’s program will be backed by Torque Esports brands including leading race simulator manufacturer Allinsports, esports tournament and digital entertainment platform UMG.TV, game studio Eden Games and motorsport website and social media platform WTF1. Additional partners include Apple’s largest Premier Partner in the U.S, Simply Mac plus Purekana and OnePlant.
Outside open-wheel racing, the 20-year-old was asked to twice compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship [IMSA]. At only 18 years of age DeFrancesco finished sixth in his Daytona Prototype debut. He teamed up with F1 legend Rubens Barrichello for 2019 and brought his Cadillac home an impressive fifth, the same race two x F1 Champion Fernando Alonso took the win.
During the recent 2020 racing “pause”, DeFrancesco has been a race winner in The Race All-Star Series where he has competed along with fellow Allinsports sim racers and mentors Juan Pablo Montoya and Rubens Barrichello. The young Canadian has not only shared sim secrets with Barrichello – they also drove as teammates in the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
"I’ve had an incredible time racing in Europe over the past nine years but I’m really looking forward to coming home to NorthAmerica and racing with Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport.
“My season in Asian Formula 3 was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ability to travel to and from Europe for the rest of 2020 is very much up in the air.
“We have been talking about the possibility of coming back to race in NorthAmerica and those plans have now been brought forward. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity from Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport.
“I can’t wait to get started and be back on track. I’ve been doing a lot of virtual racing with my sponsor Allinsports inThe Race All-Star Series but I can’t wait to be back on track for real.”
“My goal and ambition is to eventually follow the 'Road to Indy' and compete in the NTT IndyCar series but I know I have alot to learn and many steps to take prior to that.
“The car will be new for me, many of the tracks are new and of course the team is new for me as well. However, I know what they have achieved in the past and I'm fully aware of what an amazing opportunity I have ahead of me. I am extremely grateful.”
GEORGE STEINBRENNER - Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing co-owner
“We are excited to expand the Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing program with the addition of Devlin. We are also excited to reignite Steinbrenner Racing’s involvement in the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tire with our Andretti Autosport partners. Devlin has had success in various junior formula series in Europe and we are looking forward to helping him continue his journey in Motorsport.”
MICHAEL ANDRETTI - Chairman and CEO, Andretti Autosport
“We are looking forward to returning to the Indy Pro 2000 paddock for the 2020 season and continuing our strong partnership with Steinbrenner Racing.
“After the Coronavirus Pandemic altered the Indy Lights season, we felt that Indy Pro 2000 is a great opportunity to keep our up-and-coming drivers inside the cockpit. We had our eye on Devlin for a while and excited to have him join Andretti Autosport. With his European experience and natural talent we are confident in what he can do behind the wheel of his Indy Pro 2000 car.”