Battistini joins Team PBIR at Chicago


After a sitting out most of the summer, Team PBIR will return to Firestone Indy Lights at Chicagoland Speedway with a proven race winner behind the wheel.

Englishman Dillon Battistini will drive the team’s No. 35 Team PBIR entry in the Chicagoland 100. The effort will be run in conjunction with Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

“Obviously, I’m excited to have Dillon’s experience in our garage this weekend and thank Sam Schmidt for his support,” said Ron Dixon, president of Palm Beach Indy Racing. “Dillon’s a proven winner, if it weren’t for the economy he’d be in the thick of things in IndyCar this year, so it’s great for us to be able to have him at Chicago.”

Battistini hasn’t raced anything since finished 15th at Kansas Speedway in April 2009. He said he’s ready to get back on track.

“You wouldn’t believe how much I am looking forward to racing this weekend,” the 32-year-old native of Ewell, England said. “I don’t recall ever being so excited about being back in a race car. It’s been a long time. I haven’t even been on a race track since my last race in 2009. It’s a good feeling. Hopefully, we can go out and get a good result.”

Battistini finished sixth in Firestone Indy Lights points in 2008 after scoring a series best four wins (all on ovals) with Panther Racing. He compared his situation this year to that in 2008 when he won in his series debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway despite having never raced on an oval.

“When you haven’t driven for a long time, it may take a minute to get used to the speeds,” Battistini said. “It shouldn’t take that long to get back into it. I’ll have my engineer that I worked with in 2008 (Don Bricker) and I’m trusting the car will be very good.”

Battistini, who has been working toward a full IZOD IndyCar Series program, is hopeful his appearance in the Chicagoland 100 will be a platform for next year.

“It seems as if I’ve done nothing but workout and go to meetings for months now,” Battistini said. “I think it’ll be a nice mental break to get in a car this weekend … then hopefully more.”


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