BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Competing as Argentina’s first female driver to race in the United States, 21-year-old Julia Ballario hopes to pave the road for other Argentinian female drivers when she makes her debut this year in the Pro Mazda Championship for Juncos Racing.
Ballario first tested with Juncos Racing in the fall of 2012, where she participated in the second annual Chris Griffiths Memorial Mazda Road to Indy open test held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. During the two-day test, she proved her ability to learn the open-wheel car, she continued to log quicker lap times, and she placed eighth quick overall among fellow drivers. The following year, Ballario joined Juncos Racing again in the official series test held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May.
Ballario’s racing career took off in the early 2000s, where she competed in numerous karting races throughout South America. She went on to compete in the 2006 Argentine Championship in Santiago del Estero, earning podium finishes in both provincial and federal championships. The 2007 season marked her switch to Formula Renault Plus racing, where she gained recognition as Best Woman Driver in Federados Amateur Class. Throughout the next several years, Ballario continued to compete in Formula Renault Plus. After continued success on the track, two top-five and four top-six finishes rounded out her 2012 season in the TC 2000 as Ballario continued to make her name known throughout South American racing.
“I’m very happy to have Julia Ballario committed for the full season in Pro Mazda,” said team owner Ricardo Juncos. “She completed two races with us last season. Undeterred by insufficient time to practice beforehand, she managed to leave us with a strong impression of her capabilities on the track.” Alluding to her natural ability, Juncos added, “I foresee Julia showing persistent growth as the season progresses.”
Fellow Argentinian Ricardo Juncos also pointed out, “She will become the first ever woman from Argentina to race in the USA, and she is the first Argentinean driver on our team. I’m looking forward to working with her this season.”
The team kicks off the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires at the end of March in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to compete this year in the Pro Mazda Championship in the United States with Juncos Racing.“ said Ballario, “This year will give me the experience and knowledge I need to become a better driver. Although I only spent a short time with Juncos Racing last year, I enjoyed the overall morale of the team.”
“Looking ahead, I anticipate some difficulty with the oval courses as I have yet to test or race on that type of circuit. However, I remain enthusiastic and optimistic nonetheless. I’m ready to face any challenges that may present themselves.”