Where are they now #3 – “Pechito” López

Pechito López began his post-karting career in Europe after emigrating from Argentina in 2001 with much promise, winning the Italian Formula Renault 2.0 title in 2002 and finishing 4th in the Eurocup.  As a result, Pechito was included in the 2003 Renault Development Driver program, along with Heikki Kovalainen (WSR) and Eric Salignon (F3 UK), testing several times for the Renault F1 team.

jm-lopezAfter winning the Renault V6 Eurocup with the DAMS team in 2003 in an epic title battle with Neel Jani, there were very high expectations for José María “Pechito” López in his evolution towards higher racing categories, even more with RDD’s support.   In 2004 he joined F3000 with the second Coloni team (CMS), without much glory and eventually ending up in 6th place without a win.

For 2005 López re-joined DAMS for the inaugural GP2 season.  As an RDD driver, it was a “must” to be there – joined again by Kovalainen.  and López started off strong, winning the 4th race of the season – the sprint race at Montmeló.   That was the high point of an inconsistent season, where he only managed one more podium – a 2nd place in the feature race at Magny Cours – and eventually finishing 9th in the champioship.

In 2006, Pechito moved over to the Super Nova team (curiously once again teamed up with Fairuz Fauzy), but had a dismal season with many retirements and accidents.   Lopez ended up 10th, with only 3 podiums and no wins.   That same year, Lopez was dropped by RDD, most likely putting an end to any hopes of reaching F1.

Though for the 2007 GP2 season Lopez tested successfully with BCN Competición, his exit from RDD  left him without any significant support to continue his racing career in Europe.  That year, he returned to Argentina to race in the highly competitive TC2000 touring car series, racing against other Argentinian top drivers such as Matias Rossi, Martin Basso and Cristian Ledesma.  Lopez finished the year in 5th place with 3 wins, returning in 2008 to be the series champion.  That year, Lopez won 4 races with his Honda Civic, ending up 19 points clear of 2nd place Guillermo Ortelli.

In 2008 Lopez also contested the FIA GT1 championship with the ACA Team from Argentina, running a Ferrari 550 Maranello, yet with little success.  Today, Lopez is contesting the more powerful (though less competitive) Top Race V6 in Argentina, with a Mercedes Benz.

In summary, a career that started with much promise, to the point of being an F1 tester, but was quickly destroyed by the lack of results in his brief GP2 career.   Another victim of GP2?

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3 Responses to Where are they now #3 – “Pechito” López

  1. AleGarro says:

    No conocía tu blog. Se ve que le diste suerte a Pechito Lopez con el post porque ayer ganó en la carrera de TC2000. Como curiosidad, en el podio también estuvo Norberto Fontana, ex F1. Pechito está “pluriempleado” porque aunque anunció que no seguirá en Top Race V6, donde compartía equipo con Gastón Mazzacane (otro ex F1, champ car, etc), es vigente campeón del TC2000 y también hará la temporada de Turismo Carretera, la categoría más popular de Argentina.

  2. Mekola says:

    Add to this that, in 2008, Pechito López was crowned champion of TC2000 with 4 wins.

  3. Mekola says:

    Correction: In 2008, López entered too in Turismo Carretera, a NASCAR-like series that is the most popular in Argentina, with a Torino-Cherokee chassis. At the moment, he made with it one pole and is one of the hopefuls to win its first race on the series.

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