Tag Archives: IZOD IndyCar Series

Indy Car Series

Mike Conway

London, UK – June 1, 2013 – Mike Conway wins the first race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans.  This is his second IZOD IndyCar Series win, with his previous being in Long Beach in 2011.
 
Conway, driving the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ – Dale Coyne Racing machine, for the first time this weekend, showed his skill by qualifying third on the 2.346-mile, 13-turn Belle Isle street course.  He then started on the front row, due to Franchitti’s 10 spot grid penalty and took advantage from the drop of the green flag.  By the end of the first lap, Conway was leading the field and only dropped as low as second for a short period of time.  Leading a total of 47 out of 70 laps, Conway showed his dominance by re-gaining the lead from Hunter-Reay on lap 44 and taking the checkered flag almost 13 seconds ahead of him.  His teammate Justin Wilson finished third.
 
Commenting on his win today, Conway said, “My manager said my flight was booked on Tuesday at lunch time so I was like, ‘Ok, I best pack up my bag and get ready for the airport’.  But you know I cannot thank Dale [Coyne] enough for making it possible and they’ve just given me a great car all weekend.  I just really dialed myself into this track and it kept getting better and better. The car was amazing on the blacks, even on the reds. It just kind of kept a steady pace towards the end there, didn’t want to burn out too bad because if there were any restarts I wanted to have tires left. A big thank you to all the crew guys, they did a great job all weekend.”
 
By winning today’s race, Conway has now set himself up for a $50,000 bonus if he can also win the second of the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series double header weekends tomorrow.
 
Earlier today, Conway took pole for Race 2 tomorrow.  His previous best qualifying result was second at Barber Motorsports Park in 2010 and Baltimore in 2012.  In 55 previous starts, he has had 14 top-10 finishes including four top-fives, three podiums and two wins.
 
The second race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans will be at 3:50pm ET tomorrow, live on ABC.

INDYCAR

Photo: INDYCAR/LAT USA

HUNTER-REAY WINS IZOD INDYCAR SERIES TITLE AS CARPENTER WINS MAVTV 500

FONTANA, Calif. — The IZOD IndyCar Series championship was Will Power’s to lose entering the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships at Auto Club Speedway. After Lap 55, it became Ryan Hunter-Reay’s to win.

For the third consecutive year, contact in the season finale altered the title aspirations of the Aussie. The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car “caught a seam” in Turn 2 of the 2-mile oval, spun and made contact with the SAFER Barrier while running 12th — a few car lengths ahead of Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car.

Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti relayed to a surprised Hunter-Reay, who 18 hours before had signed a two-year contract extension, that he had to finish sixth to claim his first series championship by one point.

But wait. In this season of surprises, ultra-tight competition and high drama, all three collectively focused on the Team Penske garage as the crew converged to repair the Dallara chassis and collect 11 more laps to finish 24th and ahead of the retired car of E.J. Viso.

That’s exactly what transpired, forcing Hunter-Reay to finish at least fifth. Crews from rival teams cheered as the No. 12 entry was wheeled onto pit lane.

That went by the wayside as Alex Tagliani’s engine expired with 20 laps left and then Tony Kanaan’s car made contact with the Turn 4 SAFER Barrier on Lap 241, creating a red flag with the restart on Lap 244.

Ed Carpenter earned his second IZOD IndyCar Series victory for the second consecutive year in the finale and with Dario Franchitti as the runner-up. Scott Dixon finished third and Helio Castroneves was fifth.

Hunter-Reay was running third on the restart and lost two positions, but the 31-year-old Floridian regained one spot when Takuma Sato’s car crashed on the final lap. The points difference, in over 15 events on the most diverse set of racetracks in motorsports, was three points over Power.

Hunter-Reay also clinched the A.J. Foyt Trophy for most points scored on ovals. He entered the race tied with Kanaan.

Franchitti, who won the last IZOD IndyCar Series race at the speedway in 2005, tied Al Unser Jr. and Bobby Rahal for fifth all time with 88 podium finishes. He also passed Rick Mears with his 112th top-five finish and tied Castroneves and Dixon for eighth with his 29th runner-up finish.

RMMR

A BRILLIANT FINISH DOWN IN MONTEREY.

There are times to spectate and there are times to roll up one’s sleeves and participate.  At the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion this year, both options brought abundant joy, as more than 550 authentic and historic race cars from nearly every decade of motorsports history popped their clutches and shifted gears on the esteemed road course of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Over August 16-19, the cars–split into 17 groups according to age and engine size and chosen for their period-correct presentation–put in two days of practice and a weekend’s worth of morning qualifying rounds followed by afternoon Rolex Races that “counted most.” The busy schedule certainly left those behind the wheel with plenty to do, and it gave car enthusiasts–who could watch the action from hillsides and bleachers and mix elbow-to-elbow with drivers, owners and crews in the paddock area–much in which to indulge.

Perhaps the busiest person at the event this year was Lynn Park (La Canada, Calif.), better known as “Mr. Cobra.”  As the Shelby Cobra was the chosen marque for 2012 and Park is proficiently versed in everything Cobra, he seemed the obvious choice for selecting and assuring the provenance of the 45 authentic Cobras that would race in Saturday’s feature race.  The choice could not have been more perfect, and at the awards ceremony, Park was given “The Spirit of Monterey” recognition as the driver who excels in the spirit of the weekend, along with a specially engraved 18k stainless steel and gold Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona.  Park drove one of his 14 personally owned Cobras in Saturday’s race while his sons drove two of his others.

“If you look up the term ‘labor of love’ in Webster’s Dictionary, you will find me and a Cobra in a picture there,” said Park, who has owned 50 Cobras over his lifetime and personally knew the late Carroll Shelby.  “I love this, and I live and breathe Cobras all day long.  We worked really hard to get this event done just this way, and in fact when the organizers said they were going to turn the Cobra end of it over to me, I said okay, beautiful, we’ll get it done.  All the Cobra guys are so cooperative, and they’re just the nicest bunch of people you are ever going to see.  We crowded all those Cobras into that paddock, and what a show!”

Park choked up when he recalled Carroll Shelby telling him he couldn’t wait to be here for this special year at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.  “He was really looking forward to it,” said Park.  “Of course we miss him, and it is such a shame he cannot be here to have seen all this.”

Appropriately, Park also received a special giclee print of this year’s poster artwork, which was rendered by artist Bill Patterson and features a Shelby Cobra as it crests the Corkscrew:  Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s signature turn that drops 5 ½ stories in only 450 feet of track length.  Rolex Awards of Excellence were also awarded in each race category, as determined by an independent panel. 

The Final Day
Even with Cobras stealing the show on Saturday, today’s final races brought thrills of different kinds to those who watched. The most exciting race was offered up by the event’s fastest cars, the 1981 – 1989 FIA Mfg. Championship & IMSA GTPs.  Zac Brown’s (Carmel, Indiana) pole sitting 1986 Porsche 962 led flag-to-flag, but Brown conceded, nevertheless, that it was all hard work.

“I was worried about Rick Knoop in the Group 44 Jaguar, because he won last year.  With these older cars you want to get as much of a lead as you can, because you never know when you might have a mechanical or electrical glitch. The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is the biggest vintage race in the country and arguably the biggest in the world, so to come out and win it is pretty awesome.  I’ve had this car for three years, and last year I put the ex-Formula 1 driver Stephan Johansson in the car, and he won, so it is currently undefeated at this event.”

Brown grew up racing, starting with go-karts at age 13 and racing professionally from 1991 to 2000.  Then he stopped.  “I decided to do historic racing and find it to be a blast; I love it,” said Brown, adding that the experience of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion goes beyond the race track.  “It’s the whole weekend.  My wife loves it; I’ve got good friends who have come out here, I have friends who have flown here from Europe to take it all in so it’s a great two weeks, I came out for last week’s Pre-Reunion race as well, so it’s a great ten days of driving, with nice food, nice wine and an experience to be remembered.”

Every sport requires a training ground, and in 1958, motor racing developed the perfect training ground to lead to Formula 1, called Formula Junior.  It began with front engine cars and was dominated by Italian drivers, but when the formula adopted rear engine cars, the British took over.  The most notable British drivers were Jim Clark and other great drivers were John Surtees, Trevor Taylor and Peter Arundell.

It was a British racer who now lives in Virginia, Mark Gillies, who stole the show with his 1962 Lotus 22 in the 34-car race for Formula Juniors here.  “I’ve owned this car for about four years, but the two previous owners have raced it here at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion for a number of years and won with it also,” said Gillies, who has been racing for over 30 years. “The Lotus 22 was a popular car in Formula Junior and mostly run by privateers; although, there were always one or two works cars as well.  They were sometimes used in Formula 1 races but mostly just to fill the field, as they were not competitive in that class.”

Also racing in the Formula Junior Group was Sharon Adelman (Free Union, Virginia), who finished 12th in her 1963 Brabham BT6.  “The race was fierce, competitive and very exciting,” said Adelman, who has been racing for five years and wasn’t the only woman registered in this class.  “There are a lot of competent women here; it’s just that when they put on their driving suits, you can’t tell them apart,” said Adelman.  “This is my first time racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and I’m really excited and really surprised I did so well.  There were a lot of very competent and able drivers in this group, so I felt very safe as a ‘newbie’; it was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to come back.” 

The Oldest Car
The appeal of vintage motor racing is largely the experience of watching colorful race cars once again competing on race circuits around the world. Enthusiasts can reminisce about the glory days of the sport and often times learn something that goes well beyond either memory or imagination.  When eight cars built before World War I raced in yesterday’s Pre-1940 Sports Racing and Touring Cars, fans knew it was something special.  What they found out about the oldest of these cars—a 1907 Renault Grand Prix owned by Alan Travis (Phoenix, AZ)—was truly beyond remarkable.

According to Travis, who eagerly related his car’s history with great authority to anyone who asked, the car was once owned by William K. Vanderbilt.  “Vanderbilt had watched the very first Grand Prix at Le Mans,” said Travis, “and Renault won that race with one of these cars.  He was so impressed with the car that he ordered ten of them to be brought to the United States because he was creating a race series in the USA called the Vanderbilt Cup.  This is one of the ten cars.” 

Travis said his car’s top speed in those days was 90 miles per hour and he had it going 84 miles per hour this weekend.  “We’ve actually driven this car 4,000 miles within this last month,” said Travis.  “We competed in the Great Race back East and then we’ve come here to race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with all its tight turns and up hills and down hills on these wooden wheels.  You can imagine entering a corner at 60 miles per hour in a 105 year-old-car with wooden wheels; it’s probably more exciting than driving a Cobra at 150 miles per hour into that same turn.”

Travis added that the Renault, which cost $15,000 new in the days when you could buy a house for $500, has two wheel brakes only on the rear, but he can’t use them going through the corners, because the car kicks out and then slides.  “Yesterday we did a four wheel drift in the morning, and that was extremely unnerving,” said Travis.  “When my riding mechanic and I finally got through the slide, we looked at each other and said, ‘well, we weren’t thrown from the car, so let’s keep going!’  

“I’ve had this car for one year, and it had never been restored, so I took it down to the frame and found that the rivets had gotten so loose that the frame members were wiggling.  These were the same type of rivets that seven years later were used to build the Titanic, and those didn’t work out that good either.  I did all the work myself, and I did it sympathetically, so things that were a little bit dented or a little bit torn I didn’t fix, because it has earned all of that and are badges of honor.”

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is an annual tradition held the third week in August during the Monterey Peninsula’s wildly popular Classic Car Week. The competitors this year were from 10 nations—USA (547), Canada (5),  Brazil (4 ), Switzerland (2), UK (2), Monaco (1), Netherlands (1), Australia (1), Belgium (1), USVI (1)— and 28 states, with the largest contingents coming from California (348), Washington (29), Nevada (25), Arizona (23), Florida (14), Texas (14), Oregon (12) and Colorado (12).

Results for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion can be found here.

For more information on the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, visit www.MazdaRaceway.com.

Photo: By: Rolex / Stephan Cooper 

Indycar

Photo: IZOD Indycars

VAUTIER CLAIMS WIN ON STREETS OF TROIS RIVIERES…

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec — Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ Tristan Vautier completed a weekend sweep of the Grand Prix of Trois Rivières with the victory on the street circuit.

Vautier was atop the time sheet in practice, started from the pole and went on to his third victory of the season.

At the drop of the green flag, Vautier was quickly swallowed up by Belardi Auto Racing’s Peter Dempsey, who started fifth and made a daring move to second and took the lead all on the first lap. Dempsey maintained the point until Lap 9, when a gearbox issue forced him into the pits and out for the race.

From there, it was smooth sailing for Vautier, who maintained a fairly comfortable gap over Team Moore Racing’s Gustavo Yacaman throughout the remainder of the race. Yacaman finished second after qualifying third, and Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz followed up his recent win in Edmonton with a third-place finish.

The win was familiar to Vautier, who also won from pole last season at the track in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. An obvious fan favorite because of his experience at the venue and his ability to speak fluent French, Vautier also moves back into second place in the championship battle with two races remaining.

Finishing in fourth was points leader Esteban Guerrieri, who has 383 points and a six-point lead over Vautier. Fifth was Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ Oliver Webb, followed by David Ostella and Jorge Goncalvez. Victor Carbone, Sebastian Saavedra, Juan Pablo Garcia and Dempsey finished in that order after retiring from the race with mechanical issues.

GP3R RACE RUNNING:

Lap 1: No. 9 Dempsey overtakes No. 77 Vautier for lead after starting fifth. No. 11 Guerrieri back to fifth after starting fourth.

Lap 5: No. 9 Peter Dempsey leads No. 77 Tristan Vautier by .987 seconds

Lap 9: No. 77 Vautier passes No. 9 Dempsey for the lead. No. 2 Yacaman into second.

Lap 9: No. 9 Dempsey in the pits.

Lap 9: No. 9 Dempsey has retired from the race due to mechanical issues.

Lap 10: No. 77 Vautier leads No. 2 Yacaman by .941 seconds.

Lap 15: No. 77 Vautier leads No. 2 Yacaman by .3276 seconds

Lap 15: No. 76 Juan Pablo Garcia has retired from the race due to mechanical issues.

Lap 16: No. 11 Guerrieri moves into 4th around No. 27 Saavedra.

Lap 18: No. 3 Carbone and No. 7 Webb get around No. 27 Saavedra for 5th and 6th.

Lap 18: No. 27 Saavedra has fallen back to last (9th).

Lap 20: No. 77 Vautier leads No. 2 Yacaman by 3.004 seconds.

Lap 24: No. 27 Saavedra in the pits.

Lap 25: No. 77 Vautier leads No. 2 Yacaman by 3.952 seconds.

Lap 25: No. 27 Sebastian Saavedra has retired from the race due to mechanical issues.

Lap 30: No. 77 Vautier leads No. 2 Yacaman by 5.157 seconds.

Lap 31: No. 3 Carbone in the pits.

Lap 34: No. 3 Carbone has retired from the race due to mechanical issues.

Lap 35: No. 77 Vautier leads by 5.296 seconds.

Lap 38: Local yellow at Turn 6. No. 22 Ostella in the runoff.

Lap 40: No. 77 Vautier leads No. 2 Yacaman by 3.837 seconds.

Lap 45: No. 77 Vautier leads No. 2 Yacaman by 4.190 seconds.

Lap 47: No. 4 Goncalvez spins in Turn 6.

Lap 49: No. 4 Goncalvez is restarted and continues.

Lap 50: No. 77 Vautier leads No. 2 Yacaman by 2.547 seconds.

Lap 55: No. 77 Vautier leads No. 2 Yacaman by 3.862 seconds.

2:27 p.m.: CHECKERED. No. 77 Vautier wins the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres.

GP3R POST-RACE QUOTES:

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM w/Curb Agajanian): “Yeah it was a nice test today. The track is a real street course, it’s hard physically, and we were under pressure after the past three races that were hard, and we got the win we needed, so I’m excited for my team. It was a great car. Big thanks to everyone, I’m really happy and the team was fantastic. We were fastest in eveyr session and we almost led every lap. I’d like to thank Mazda and MAZDASPEED, for allowing me to be here today.

GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 2 TMRTuvacolXtreme Coil Drilling): “Yeah I mean, the last 20 laps we got very close to Tristan, but second place for us today was pretty good. Sebastian was pretty far down the line and we’re fighting for third position in the championship with him, so it was a good race. Good race in the points and maybe we’ll catch up to him soon.

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Team DialySer): It was a tough race, it was pretty long. I think 60 laps is a long race. I’m quite happy with another podium in third place, and we worked a lot of the days. After Edmonton it’s always win again, but I’m happy with the third place. Congratulations to the team, thank you to them, they did a great job, and I’m looking forward to Baltimore.

ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM w/Curb Agajanian): “It was pretty hot. It was a tough race, physical, I didn’t have much more to catch Munoz. I had to push and be very consistent, but we were suffering with a lot of understeer since Lap 1, so I couldn’t get it. I just had to pace myself.

OLIVER WEBB (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): “It was a good start, I was just stuck behind Victor for the first 15 laps. He didn’t really have the pace that we did and we had a really good set up. On the damp track the car was really good, and when I finally did get past Victor, we had a couple of side-by-sides and then I eventually got past. Then it was just smooth sailing from there. We were setting the leader’s pace and we were quickest for about 20 minutes. So the car was good, just kind of an average finish.

Indycar

photo by IZOD IndyCar Series

VAUTIER STREAKS TO POLE AT TROIS-RIVIERES…

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec — After setting the fastest laps in both practice sessions, Frenchman Tristan Vautier earned the pole for the 60-lap Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières, setting an outright track record at 57.1394 seconds.

For the second year in a row, qualifying for the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières was decided by a two-segment knockout session, similar to the Firestone Fast Six in the IZOD IndyCar Series. The first segment was a 30-minute session in which all cars battled for the top six advancing spots. Vautier led that session with a lap of 57.5010 seconds, followed by Team Moore Racing’s Gustavo Yacaman. Last year’s pole sitter and race winner Esteban Guerrieri, and teammates Sebastian Saavedra and Carlos Munoz all advanced to the final segment.

Segment 2 was a 10-minute shootout to decide pole position. Teams toyed with strategy for the first few minutes, and no cars went out on track until two minutes after the green flag dropped. Dempsey was the first car out.

The top three drivers went under the standing outright track record set last year by Guerrieri at 57.4541 seconds. Vautier’s pole time of 57.1394 is the new standard for drivers to beat in the 1:45 p.m. (ET) race Sunday afternoon. Edmonton race winner Munoz will start alongside him, followed by Yacaman, Guerrieri, Dempsey and Saavedra.

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM w/Curb Agajanian): “It’s great. The track was hotter than this morning. The first ones were harder to get used to the track, which was more slippery, but it was great. Car was good, we made just a few changes during qualifying and it was a bit of a tough approach. After having done the two fastest times of practice, you are the target, especially if your pace is really, really good, so everybody works hard to get up to you and you have to keep improving when your margin is smaller, so that was really the tough part. I’m glad the car stayed really good, and I’m going to have to put a lap together. It was so hard with the heat because the tires were going away quicker, even though the Firestone tires are so great. With the heat, the peak of the tires doesn’t stay very long, so it was important to put it together at the right time in the run, because after it was too late. We managed to do it, but we’ve got to keep working really hard tomorrow, keep improving to stay in front and hopefully do a great race tomorrow.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Team DialySer): “We are happy with our second-place qualifying start for the race tomorrow. When we started the weekend, we were not really comfortable with the car. My Andretti Autosport team worked really hard last night and this morning so I am very proud of them that we were able to do such a great job today. We were extremely close to getting the pole position, so tomorrow’s race will be important. My main goal will be to maintain my position and determine my pace. I’m looking forward to it.”

GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 2 TMRTuvacolXtreme Coil Drilling): “It’s a good format, we did it here last year and it works pretty well. It allows people to have different qualifying strategies, so maybe someone who is not quick can get into the fast six, they can run lower fuel to try to qualify a little bit towards the front. And then the people who can qualify in the fast six, maybe they start the session a little later to save fuel or whatever towards the fast six. It just brings some strategy to the game and I think it’s a lot of fun.

“It’s going to be a long race. Everyone is having some sort of braking issue, everyone’s brakes are overheating a little bit. There’s a lot of hard braking and not much time to cool them down, so that’s going to be a factor. Obviously towards the end of the race, tire wear is going to be an issue as well. But we’ll see, it’s physical, it’s very, very warm, so the track is very physical as the brakes get no cooling, you as a driver get no cooling, so it’s a very hard track. We’ll see who it will favor.”

 

ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM w/Curb Agajanian): “I think it’s fun. You don’t really know where you are until the last lap of the first qualifying, so you have to push. I was first with the first set of tires, and then I had to go out again with another new set because you never know what’s going to happen. Then the times get quicker, and then when I put itin the top six you just try for all that you have because for the shootout, it’s only one set so you go out and it was really hot. You just go for the top six, you have nothing to lose and all to gain. So it was fun, it was a fun format, I like it.”

PETER DEMPSEY (No. 9 Belardi/TruFuel): “Qualifying was tough. We were working on saving a set of tires for tomorrow’s race so we started on our practice tires hoping to make our way into the Top 6, which we managed to do. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in the braking zones today, so that hurt me from getting the most out of the car. We were the first out for the final ten minutes of qualifying, put some good laps together, did my best lap [at Trois-Rivières] so far but unfortunately couldn’t get the No. 9 Belardi Auto Racing/TruFuel car on pole today. I made a slight error – tapped the wall – there at the end so that didn’t help things. I definitely think I could have gone quicker before that happened, but you know, overall I’m happy. The guys have done a great job all weekend so tomorrow we’ll go out, keep our nose clean, go hard and see what happens.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Team AFS): “This was not the qualifying that we are used to in the No. 27 AFS racing/Andretti Autosport car. I am a bit disappointed to be honest. It was good that we got into the fast six, but we struggled to get there. It is a situation that we have been battling since the first time we were on the track. We just need to stay focused and try and see the difference between my car and Carlos’ car to make them closer to one another. I am happy for Carlos getting second today, but at this point, I needed a higher qualifying position to really push in the race. We are in the final stretch of the championship and I am in a position I don’t want to be in. We will keep working and stay positive to see how things unfold during the race.”

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: MiguelCostaJr

Andretti Autosport adds Beatriz for Sao Paulo, Indianapolis: Andretti Autosport will add Ana Beatriz to the team’s driver lineup for two IZOD IndyCar Series races in 2012.

Beatriz will race for Andretti Autosport in her hometown event, the São Paulo Indy 300 (April 27-29), and then attempt to make her third Indianapolis 500 start in May as a co-entrant for Andretti Autosport with operational support from Conquest Racing. Beatriz will race the No. 25 Chevrolet sponsored by Ipiranga, one of Brazil’s iconic petroleum and convenience retail companies.

 “Driving for Andretti Autosport is the biggest opportunity I’ve had in IndyCar and my career,” Beatriz said. “I am very honored to be part of Michael’s (Andretti) team for Brazil and the Indy 500. I would like to thank my management team, Andre Ribeiro and Augusto Cesario, for putting this deal together with Michael, John (Lopes) and JF (Thormann). Also I am very happy to have Ipiranga supporting me again for these races and Andretti couldn’t be a better fit. I am very much looking forward to working with the team, Marco (Andretti), James (Hinchcliffe) and Ryan (Hunter-Reay).”

The 27-year-old Beatriz will drive the fourth entry for Andretti Autosport at São Paulo, joining teammates Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. For the Indianapolis 500 she will pilot a fifth Chevrolet-powered car for Andretti (Sebastian Saavedra will be the team’s fourth driver in an AFS Racing co-entry). Beatriz completed a test session with Andretti Autosport in March at Sebring International Raceway.

“I’ve been watching Bia for a few years,” said Michael Andretti, Chairman, President and CEO, Andretti Autosport. “She was very strong in Firestone Indy Lights, and I was impressed by the pace she showed there. This opportunity is a good fit for us as a team. Brazil is an important, growing market for many of our sponsors, so to have a Brazilian driver and Ipiranga come aboard with us made a lot of sense. This opportunity came to us late so we are grateful for the operational support provided by Conquest Racing.”

Beatriz, who goes by the nickname ‘Bia,’ came up through the Brazilian karting and open wheel ranks before she entered Firestone Indy Lights in 2008. She was the first woman to win in the series with a victory at Nashville in 2008, and she followed-up with a second oval win at Iowa in 2009. Beatriz has 20 previous starts in the IZOD IndyCar Series, with a career-best finish of 11th at Toronto in 2011. She made her first IndyCar start in 2010 at the São Paolo race. She is the first Brazilian woman to start in the Indianapolis 500, where she has twice finished 21st.

Beatriz’ addition to the grid in Brazil means that a total of 27 cars will make the trip to Sao Paulo for the third Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 on April 29. INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard said provisions were made to bring 27 cars to Brazil.

 “After the decisions had been made, our promoter BAND  asked us to add Ana Beatriz to the field, and we were happy to accommodate that request without limiting the field for the race,” Bernard said.