SASKATOON, SK (December 23, 2019) – Exclusive Autosport is happy to announce the return of Nikita Lastochkin to the team, making his debut in the 2020 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire season. The Russian-born, Los Angeles, CA resident will pilot the team’s #90 Dallara IL-15 featuring the Exclusive Autosport’s red and white livery with branding from his sponsor Russkaya Mekhanika. This will be the team’s first season in Indy Lights, but they have already shown in the series’ official winter test that they have serious pace, topping the speed charts in one of the five sessions earlier this month in Sebring.
“We are thrilled about our 2020 Indy Lights program and we’re equally excited to announce that Nikita, who ran with us in Indy Pro 2000 this past season, has chosen to take the next step in his career with Exclusive Autosport in our first year in the program,” enthused Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “I am truly proud of the relationship that has been built with Nikita the past year. To me, it speaks volumes about his trust and belief in EA. Nikita showed extremely well at the first series test in Sebring and we can’t wait for the start of the year in St. Petersburg.”
Lastochkin began his racing career in 2013 in the Skip Barber and SCCA series, scoring many victories, all with his eyes on making the jump to the Road to Indy program. In 2015, Nikita began a two-year stint in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, where he earned a combined 24 top-10 finishes. In 2017, he set his sights on an Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires program (Pro Mazda, at the time) and the 28-year-old finished fifth in the championship standings, posting eight top-fives and 11 top-10s with a season-high result of third in both races at Road America. In 2018, Nikita was ninth overall in the Indy Pro 2000 championship fight with 10 top-10 finishes. Last year, Lastochkin completed his first season with Exclusive Autosport in Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires, gaining five top-five finishes and sixth overall in the championship battle.
“I am extremely happy to be able to work things out and make the step up to Indy Lights,” said Lastochkin. “It is a humbling experience every time I get in the car, since I could not imagine how I was going to make it this far a few years ago. ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’ is what they say, and my plan is to just keep working hard and see how far we can take it. Exclusive Autosport is going to be my home on the Road To Indy for the second year and I am confident we are going to be able to make it a great debut in the new series. Michael and Kimberly Duncalfe have been amazing in building a team that I am happy to be a part of. Our first test at Sebring went well, we have a great group of people together for the Lights program and I am very excited for my first Indy Lights start in St. Pete.”
Exclusive Autosport is already preparing for the 2020 season, continuing with their winter testing program. Though this is EA’s first Indy Lights season, they are using the winter to mold the team and prepare to give Nikita a car that can contend for a win at every race. Lastochkin will join his EA teammate Braden Eves under the tent, as the reigning USF2000 champion was announced last week for his Indy Pro 2000 debut.