Saavedra gets ’500′ ride

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By indycar.com staff Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bryan Herta Autosport expanded its driver lineup with the addition of Sebastian Saavedra, who will join Stefan Wilson on the track this season.

The second-year team also will make its first foray into the IZOD IndyCar Series, fielding an entry for Saavedra in the Indianapolis 500.

“This is a very proud day for Bryan Herta Autosport,” team co-owner Bryan Herta said. “Sebastian and Stefan will make a very formidable driving team and will help to raise our program to the next level. I know they will be pushing us and each other all season long. And to be able to announce our entry into the Indy 500 this year is another step in the plan Steve and I set for the team when it was formed just one year ago. There is much work ahead for us but today we want to take a breath and enjoy this moment. We can’t wait for the season to get started.”

Click it: Saavedra stats, bio

Saavedra, 19, from Bogota, Colombia, will return for his second season of Firestone Indy Lights competition after finishing third in last year’s championship with AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing. His rookie campaign included wins at Kansas and Toronto, six other top-five finishes and seven front-row starts.

“I have been talking to Bryan for some time and now everything is underway and I am very excited,”  Saavedra said. “The program looks amazing. It is something we can build on for the future. It will be great to have Stefan as a teammate and to work with Bryan and (co-owner) Steve Newey, who know what winning is like. I will be working hard to be the best-prepared mentally and physically. My goal for the championship is to bring the gold home.”

Saavedra is equally excited about the prospect of making his IZOD IndyCar debut and following in the footsteps of fellow Colombians Roberto Guerrero and Juan Pablo Montoya.

“Obviously, the Indy 500 is an important event for me,” he said. “It is an honor as only the third Colombian to do it. Bryan has raced at Indy five times and it is a great relief to have someone who knows what to do to guide me through this important occasion. I will be very focused to do a good job.”

Saavedra and Herta will travel to Colombia next week for a press conference on March 2 in Bogota. In the interim, BHA will be participating in the Firestone Indy Lights test at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on Feb. 26 with Saavedra and Wilson. The season opener is March 28 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

“We are thrilled to have Sebastian join the team,” Newey said. “I was extremely impressed by his performance last year. He was very competitive at every race. I am glad he is on our side now and we don’t have to compete against him. We plan to give Sebastian the opportunity to showcase his talent and compete for the championship.”

source http://www.indycar.com

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