After several false starts, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has finally confirmed that Robert Doornbos will
form a part of its line-up for the 2009 IndyCar Series.
The 27-year old Dutchman has been linked to a seat alongside Graham Rahal for several weeks, but more than once his management was forced to deny that a deal had been done. Now, after several hints that an announcement was due earlier in the week, Doornbos has finally signed with the team he provided with more than the occasional headache in the final year of Champ Car competition.
While competing as a rookie, Doornbos claimed five podiums in the first six races of the 2007 campaign, including a win at Mont Tremblant that riled NHLR's Sebastien Bourdais.
The Dutchman went on to finish third in standings, while Bourdais earned his fourth straight series title. The pair were separated by Justin Wilson, who assumed Bourdais' seat when the Frenchman headed to F1 in 2008.
Unable to secure a seat in either F1 or the unified IndyCar Series last year, Doornbos kept his hand in with successful outings in the new Superleague Formula, and joined the Netherlands team for the Chinese and New Zealand rounds of the 2008-09 A1GP Series, finishing on the podium twice in four races.
"I'm very happy and proud to get this chance to race with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing,” Doornbos admitted, “Racing in the IndyCar Series has been my biggest dream - and especially to do it with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.
"The history of the team and the big success they have had in the past really attracted me and it makes me proud to become part of this winning team."
His year in Champ Car did not feature a round on on oval, making most of the 2009 IRL a bigger challenge for the Dutchman, but Doornbos is keen to get acquainted with the format, beginning with next week's Homestead test.
"Racing on the ovals should be very exciting," he admitted, "It will be tough, but I'm training as much as possible and am in good condition and ready to achieve results. I'm also excited to race in the legendary Indy 500, and I really want to thank Mr Haas and Mr Lanigan for giving me this chance."