Ernesto Viso (full name Ernesto Jose Viso Lossada) is a former racing driver from Venezuela who spent the most of his career in open-wheel competitions, including six seasons in the IndyCar Series (from 2008 to 2013) and one season in Formula One as a test driver for Spyker MF1 Team in 2006.
He also gained some success in sports car racing, scoring Prototype Challenge class victory at Sebring 12 Hours in 2012. Most recently, Viso raced in the Stadium Super Trucks series.
British Formula 3 champion early in a career
Born in March 1985, Ernesto started his career in karting competitions back in 1993, staying in karting until 2001 when he went to the US. He raced in the Barber Formula Dodge Series. In 2002, Viso moved to Europe, racing in the British Formula Renault and Formula 3.
His first big success came in 2003 when he won the Scholarship Class title in the British Formula 3 Championship after a controversial collision in the last race against the main rival Steven Kane. That year, Viso was driving for P1 Motorsport.
In 2004, he stayed with P1 Motorsport in the main class of the British F3 Championship, scoring one victory to finish 11th in the points. In the mid-season, he moved to Durango team to compete in the International Formula 3000 Championship.
Two seasons, two wins in the GP2 Series
In 2005, Viso joined BCN Competicion to race in the inaugural season of the GP2 Series. He struggled in the first part of the year but scored three podiums near the end of the season, finishing 11th in the points.
Next year, driving for iSport International, Viso was one of the front-runners in the GP2 Series, scoring two wins (Imola, Catalunya) to finish sixth in the final standings.
Ernesto Viso as Spyker MF1 Racing's test driver
Formula One test driver for Spyker MF1 Team
In 2006, Viso finally entered the Formula One, not as a regular competitor but as a test driver for the Spyker MF1 Team. He participated in Friday's test session in the last Grand Prix event of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
In 2007, Viso had no full-time seat. He joined Racing Engineering for the French round of the GP2 Series at Magny-Cours, ending the first race in a spectacular crash with Michael Ammermüller and Kazuki Nakajima. He didn't start the second race of the weekend.
Viso then skipped one round and rejoined the team at Nurburgring, not scoring points in two races. For the rest of the season, he was replaced by Marcos Martinez.
Moving to the US in 2008
Faced with no free places in GP2 Series of F1, Viso decided to move to North America in 2008, joining HVM Racing in the newly united IndyCar Series. He was driving the #33 Dallara-Honda, scoring his season-best result in only the second race, at the streets of St. Petersburg, where he finished fourth. In his Indianapolis 500 debut, Viso was 26th, retiring after 139 laps.
Viso finished 18th overall in 2008 series and has signed a contract to drive for HVM in 2009. That year, he was 18th in the points again, with seventh place at Watkins Glen as the best result.
Ernesto Viso in 2011
Maiden IndyCar podium at Iowa Speedway
For the 2010 IndyCar campaign, Viso signed with KV Racing Technology to drive the #8 Dallara-Honda. The highlight of the season was his maiden IndyCar podium at Iowa Speedway, where he finished third behind Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves. It remained his only IndyCar podium in a career. He ended 17th in the final points of the season.
Viso stayed with KV Racing Technology for two more seasons. In 2011, his best result was the seventh place at Texas Motor Speedway and he was 18th in the championship. In 2012, he reached top 5 by finishing fifth at Milwaukee Mile. At the end of the season, he was 20th.
Last IndyCar season with Andretti Autosport
In 2013, Viso remained in the IndyCar Series with Andretti Autosport, driving the #5 Dallara-Chevrolet with sponsorship from oil company PDVSA and technical support of HVM Racing. He recorded two top-five results, finishing fourth at Milwaukee Mile and fifth at Toronto.
Viso missed the season's finale at Fontana because he was poisoned by bay oysters. He finished the season 15th in the points.
Class victory at 2012 Sebring 12 Hours
During his IndyCar years, Viso recorded few starts and some success in sports car racing. In 2011, he joined Starworks Motorsport to drive Riley-Ford prototype at Daytona 24 Hours. Sharing a car with two other Venezuelan drivers Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow, plus Frenchman Romain Iannetta, he finished in the 31st place.
In 2012, Viso joined CORE Autosport at Sebring 12 Hours, a part of the American Le Mans Series. He was sharing an Oreca FLM09 in LMPC class with Alex Popow and Burt Frisselle, scoring a class victory and finishing 12th overall.
Ernesto Viso in the 2014 Stadium Super Trucks season
Three seasons in Stadium Super Trucks
After leaving IndyCar Series at the end of 2013, Viso found a new challenge in the Speed Energy Formula Off-Road series (popular as Stadium Super Trucks). Entering the series on a part-time schedule, he won all three races at Detroit's round and two more races later in the season, finishing fifth in the points.
In 2015, Viso was a race winner three times in the Formula Off-Road, finishing sixth in the points. He returned to the series in just two events in 2016, scoring one victory.