Julian Leal has signed a deal to join reigning World Series by Renault champions International Draco Racing as partner to the recently-confirmed Nathanael Berthon for the 2010 season.
Born in 1990 in Bucaramanga in Colombia, Leal began his racing career at 16 in the PanAm Formula Renault series, claiming two podium finishes and finishing ninth overall. The following season he moved to Europe to compete in Euroseries 3000 with Italian team Durango, again finishing in ninth place in the European competition and eleventh in the parallel Italian series.
Last season, he continued in the Euroseries, finishing sixth in the standings after securing four podiums, and won the Italian F3000 championship at Misano. That success prompted a graduation to the World Series for 2009 and, having tested with Draco and other teams during the pre-season, he was picked up by Prema Powerteam. A learning year eventually yielded a trip to the podium at the Hungaroring, but did enough to convince Draco to sign him for 2010.
"I am really very happy to have received from Draco the opportunity to compete with them next season, and I thank Adriano and Nadia Morini for this occasion," the Colombian noted, "They deservedly won the championship [this year] and I am in my second year in this category, so I want to capitalise on the experience I gathered this season and, at the same time, I will use all the weapons that a team like Draco can offer me. I am very motivated and I will give my best to achieve the aims I have set, to point in all the races for the positions that really matter."
Team manager Nadia Morini insisted that 'the decision to take Leal was very well contemplated', following the test he enjoyed with the team in 2008.
"He could not be taken immediately in Draco because he had a lot of pressure, so we thought that we had not yet the right time," Morini explained, "We have followed him during the year and, in the mid-season, he's improved a lot, so we thought that we could have good results working together.
"Certainly, we expect that Leal will be up to expectations, although he knows that we have to work a lot. Since we decide to take a driver, we always know that we must aim towards the best result and it will be what we will do this year with all our might."