Eric Mc Combs
Gabby Chaves secured
his fourth and fifth
podium finishes this
year in Edmonton.
After Race 1 included a
and racing in the rain
on slicks, Race 2 (LEFT)
was far less dramatic.
INTRODUCING GABBY CHAVES
Colombian-American has flown under the radar in strong debut Star Mazda season
With so many quality drivers in the
2012 Star Mazda Championship
presented by Goodyear, one could be
forgiven for overlooking one of the true
stars of the year. Despite not winning a
race, nine top-five finishes and five
third-place results in the first 10 races
have propelled Gabby Chaves to second
in the standings as the series hits the final
few races this season.
The Colombian-American, just 19,
returned to the U.S. this year after
two seasons in Europe. The first year he
conquered the Italian Formula 3
Championship for a title, while year two
was a struggle in the FIA GP3 Series. His
mixed European experience matched that
of several other Americans seeking a
chance abroad at the time.
“I knew Josef Newgarden and Conor
Daly from Skip Barber, and I’d raced
Alexander Rossi in Formula BMW,” he
relates. “We had some great times and we
all knew each other well. Still, when plans
changed, I had to try to figure out what to
do the next year. It went great at the start
in GP3, but the team and budget fell
apart, so I came back to America.”
As noted, his prior experience of U.S.
racing included success in both Skip Barber
and Formula BMW Americas, and he won
the latter series in 2009, aged just 16.
“We came in without any testing,
whereas a lot of guys did test days,” he
says. “But we did a good job of getting
results at the start of the season and put
ourselves in a strong position. We’ve just
been really consistent – top-five finishes
almost every race have brought us to
second in the championship. Now I’d like
to see a little more speed out of the cars
to challenge for wins in the future.”
A convoluted, rain-drenched race in
Edmonton was where Chaves reckons he
showed his best pace to date. He
managed to finish third, despite being
served an early drive-through penalty
and staying out in the rain on slick tires.
With the season winding down, figuring
out budgets for next year is looming on
the agenda, and Chaves hasn’t yet
decided his next move. But a sophomore
season of Star Mazda would be one of his
top choices. Tony DiZinno
SKINNY ON GABBY
Born July 7, 1993,
Resides Weston, Fla.
Italian F3 champion
F-BMW in 2009
GABBY CHAVES on his drive to third place in
the rain at Edmonton race one
“I had no idea what was going on after
I came back out, and I stayed on slicks!
It was really crazy and exciting.”
96 SEPTEMBER 2012
AFS/Andretti Autosport rookie Carlos Munoz (LEFT)
scored his first Firestone Indy Lights win at Edmonton,
in a race that included pit stops to switch from rain
to slick tires. Munoz trailed Esteban Guerrieri, Tristan
Vautier and AFS/Andretti teammate Sebastian Saavedra
in points as the season neared its conclusion.
INDY LIGH TS