Venezuela GP Lazarus join GP2 Series

Drivers weren’t the only competitors signing on to the GP2 Series in recent weeks, as Italian race team “Venezuela GP Lazarus” have also thrown their hat into the ring for the next two seasons.

Founded in 2009 by Tancredi Pagiaro, Venezuela GP Lazarus will be replacing Super Nova Racing*, who announced their withdrawal from the GP2 series earlier this month**.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, no drivers have been announced as of yet.

Team Lazarus have previously competed in the Auto GP Series (formerly the Euroseries 3000 Championship), earning a best finish of 3rd overall in 2011. When speaking at the weekend, Pagiaro was reasonably delighted with the announcement:

“This Series is the most prestigious and competitive category after F1. I am proud that we have reached such an important agreement with the Venezuelan sponsors. With their help, we have been able to enter the prestigious GP2 Series. We know this will be a big challenge but we are ready for it and cannot wait to get started.”

This is not Pagiaro’s first foray into GP2. In 1997, the Italian formed “GP Racing” to compete in the Italian Formula 3 series. The following year, they débuted in the International Formula 3000 Series with Cyrille Sauvage and later added Italian Formula 3000 to their expanding roster.
Come the middle of the next decade, GP Racing had merged with former-F1 team boss Giancarlo Minardi to create “Minardi Team by GP Racing”, prior to merging further with Piquet Sports one year later.

Renamed “Minardi by Piquet Sports”, Pagiaro continued to manage the team, now piloted by Alexandre Negrao. However with Nelson Piquet Jr on his way to F1 with the Renault works team, Pagiaro reduced his interest in the project, eventually pulling out altogether in 2008, but not before hiring young Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado to drive.
Piquet Sports too reduced their influence and the team that had started out as GP Racing finally became Rapax, eventually helping Maldonado to the GP2 title in 2010.

* {note 1}
Backed by Nova – a chain of English language schools based in Japan – Super Nova Racing formed in 1991 from the ashes of David Sears Motorsport. Entering the International Formula 3000 Championship in 1994, the team did not need to wait long for success and earning their first Drivers’ and Teams’ titles the following year with Vincenzo Sospiri behind the wheel..
Super Nova scooped four more teams’ championship crowns in the next five years, with Juan-Pablo Montoya, Ricardo Zonta and Kenny Brack amongst the Super Nova alumni.
The team never won another Teams’ title, but did help Sebastien Bourdais and Mark Webber to 1st and 2nd respectively in later Formula 3000 seasons. Since entering GP2, Super Nova have largely struggled to recreate their prior form.

** {note 2}
Unfortunately for Super Nova, it all started to go rather wayward for the team in 2007, when Nova were declared bankrupt, resulting in intense legal drama’s.
Midway through the following year, Nozomu Sahashi – president of the Nova chain – was arrested and was found guilty of embezzlement. Upon conviction, Sahashi was sentenced to forty-two months in prison.

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