Julian Leal (full name Omar Julian Leal Covelli) is a Colombian racing driver who spent the most of his career in the single-seater competitions which are a step under the Formula One. From 2010 to 2015, he competed in the GP2 Series, prior to that, he spent two seasons in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and two seasons in the Formula 3000 Euroseries. Leal won his only championship title in 2008 when he was the Italian Formula 3000 champion.
Starting a career in the Formula Renault
Julian Leal was born on May 11, 1990, in Bucaramanga, Colombia. He started a racing career in the 2006 Formula Renault Panam GP series, scoring two podiums to finish ninth in the points. He participated in two races the following year, before moving to Europe to compete in the Formula 3000.
Italian F3000 champion in 2008
As a member of the Italian team Durango, he participated at the same time in the Formula 3000 Euroseries and in the Italian F3000 championship. In 2007, he was ninth in the Euroseries standings and eleventh in the Italian championship.
Next year, he stayed with Durango and improved his results, scoring four podiums to finish 6th in the Euroseries. In the Italian F3000 championship, Leal became a champion, beating Fabio Onidi and Nicolas Prost.
One podium in Formula Renault 3.5 Series debut season
At the end of 2008, Leal participated in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series testing at Paul Ricard and Valencia, driving for both Draco Racing and Prema Powerteam. He was signed by Prema to drive in the 2009 FR 3.5 Series season. With just one podium, the third place at Hungaroring, he finished 20th in the overall standings and 7th among rookies.
Julian Leal in 2010
One race win in the Auto GP series
Leal stayed one more season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, driving for Draco Racing in 2010. He was again 20th in the points, with fourth place at Brno as the best result in seventeen races.
Leal was more successful in the new 2010 Auto GP series, driving for the Italian Trident Racing. He managed to win one race, at Circuito de Navarra, finishing in the seventh place in the final standings.
Julian Leal in 2011 as Rapax GP2 Series driver
GP2 Series debut in 2011
For the 2011 season, Leal joined Rapax to drive in the GP2 series. He participated in four races of the GP2 Asia Series and then a full season in the main GP2 Series. In 18 races, his best result was 9th place at Valencia and Nurburgring, not collecting points.
Leal joined Trident Racing at the non-championship season's finale at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina, staying with the team in the 2012 GP2 Series season. He scored points in four races, finishing 21st in the final standings.
In 2014 and 2015 GP2 Series seasons, Leal was driving for Carlin
Four GP2 Series podiums
In 2013, Leal joined his third team in the third season, driving for Racing Engineering. With two podiums, at Spa and Monza, he finished 12th in the points.
Another change of a team followed in 2014 when Leal joined Carlin. He achieved the best result in the season-opening round at Bahrain International Circuit, finishing on a podium in both races. He scored no more podiums until the end of the season, finishing 12th in the points. Leal stayed one more season with Carlin, finishing 14th in the 2015 GP2 Series classification.
Julian and the teammates at 2016 ELMS race at Silverstone
Prototype racing in 2016
After five years in the GP2 Series, Julian left the series at the end of 2015. In 2016, he switched his focus on prototype racing, competing for SMP Racing in the European Le Mans Series. He was sharing the #32 BR1-Nissan LMP2 prototype with Stefano Coletti and Andreas Wirth.
They finished second in the season-opening race at Silverstone. After being 4th two times, one more podium followed in the fourth round at Circuit Paul Ricard. For the last two rounds of the championship, Leal was replaced by another driver, finishing 6th in the final standings.