Sage Karam, the third-place finisher in the 2012 Pro Mazda (formerly Star Mazda) Championship, will drive in the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights Series for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM).

With the addition of Karam, the SPM Firestone Indy Lights team now includes the top-three finishers in the 2012 Pro Mazda Championship, which is the rung in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder directly below Firestone Indy Lights.

In 2012, Karam, 17, recorded three wins, two poles, 10 podiums and three track records driving for Andretti Autosport in the Pro Mazda Series. He battled Jack Hawksworth and Gabby Chaves during each race weekend, but the three competitors will unite as teammates at SPM.

“One of the most exciting things I am looking forward to this year is working with proven and talented teammates in Jack and Gabby,” Karam said. “I feel both of these guys will push my driving to the next level and I believe we will feed off of each other’s progress. Hopefully we’ll all bring something to the table each race weekend.”

Team owner Sam Schmidt is eager to add Karam to his Firestone Indy Lights arsenal as the team seeks its seventh championship. Karam turned his first laps in an SPM car at a two-day test with SPM at Sebring International Raceway March 7-8.

“We’ve been watching Sage throughout the entire Mazda Road to Indy ladder, and he has excelled in both USF2000 and Pro Mazda, so we have high expectations for his first year in Firestone Indy Lights,” Schmidt said. “Age is always something to consider, but from what we’ve seen in Sage’s recent racing seasons, he is mature beyond his years in the car. He has knowledge of many of the circuits we’ll be racing at this year, so from that standpoint he won’t be a pure rookie.”

Karam, of Nazareth, Penn., was drawn to SPM because of its consistency in winning Firestone Indy Lights Championships.

“In 2012 SPM’s four Firestone Indy Lights cars had no mechanical DNFs and won seven races, which is huge,” Karam said. “When I visited their shop, I felt their chemistry was in line with my competitive personality. I believe SPM will give me the best possible chance of winning.”

SPM has developed a formula with proven results in its Firestone Indy Lights cars, and Karam is focused on improving his racecraft in a car he knows will be fast.

“In retrospect, I have always been somewhat of a development driver in the USF2000 and Pro Mazda cars, but now I’m stepping into a car that has been developed out, and the focus can shift to my driving,” Karam said. “The beauty of being with a team like SPM is that there is no guessing. I can have total faith in whatever they do.”

Comfort Revolution, a company that has backed Karam’s career for several years, will sponsor his car again in 2013.

“Sage is a young man with tremendous natural talent, and I think he’s going to do great things in the racing industry,” said Michael Fux, CEO of Comfort Revolution. “Having a ride with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Sage will be someone to look out for.”

Karam and his SPM teammates Jack Hawksworth and Gabby Chaves will hit the Streets of St. Petersburg for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 24.

Sage Karam at a Glance:

Age: 18

Hometown: Nazareth, PA

Racing Stats:

2012:

  • 3 wins, 2 poles, 10 podiums and 3 track records driving for Andretti Autosport in the Pro Mazda Series
  • 3rd place overall in Pro Mazda Championship

2011:

  • Star Mazda Rookie of the Year driving for Andretti Autosport
  • 2 wins, making Karam youngest-ever winner in Pro Mazda Series
  • 5th place overall in Pro Mazda Championship
  • Voted Most Popular Driver in Pro Mazda Series

2010:

  • USF2000 Series Champion and Rookie of the Year
  • 9 wins, 10 poles driving for Andretti Autosport in USF2000
  • Sports Illustrated Kids Top 10 Athlete of the Year award winner

2009:

  • 3rd place overall in Skip Barber National Series
  • Won Skip Barber Rising Star Award