Zachary Claman DeMelo is set to accomplish his life long goal, race in a major open wheel series. The Canadian driver has a background in karting. That’s led him to dream big and like to make a living in either the Verizon IndyCar Series or Formula One.
On Sunday, he will make that goal come true.
Claman DeMelo, 19, will drive the No. 13 Honda for Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing at Sonoma Raceway this weekend, making his INDYCAR debut.
Claman DeMelo, has raced the last two seasons in Indy Lights competition. He ran in 2016 for Juncos Racing where he had three top five finishes and nine top 10s. In 2017, he switched to Carlin Racing where he had his best season to date.
Claman DeMelo, earned his first career victory at Road America in June, to go along with five top fives and 14 top 10 results in 16 starts. That improvement, to go along with funding, led him to a rare opportunity in the INDYCAR season finale.
Now, he’s got more goals to accomplish this weekend.
“Since I made the move to cars from karts, I always knew that I either wanted to get a chance to race in INDYCAR or F1,” Claman DeMelo said. “So to get this opportunity is a big deal for me, and I can’t thank Paysafe and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing enough. I think Sonoma in general is a great track. It’s really up and down, which is exciting. You have some fast sections and hard braking and a lot of blind corners, so it’s a cool place with a bit of everything. My favorite part would have to be Turn 2. It’s just so uphill and really fun to drive.
“I’ve been in the gym every day. I want to make sure I’m in the best shape I can be and make a big splash at Sonoma. I’ve been watching as many onboard videos as possible and staying in touch with the team. My approach is going to be to go in with an open mind and learn as much as I can. I think to set expectations is always hard, but as a driver and competitive person I want to be at the front running with the best guys and showing that I can compete. If I had to set one goal throughout the weekend, it would just be to keep on progressing and learn every time I go out on track.”
He’s saying all the right things. With RLL expanding to a two-car effort in 2018, there’s rumors they can even expand one more to a three car operation. Claman DeMelo, is hoping this opportunity is a great audition.