24 February 2010
Herta adds Saavedra to Lights effort, adds Indy 500 bid.
Sebastian Saavedra becomes Bryan Herta Autosport's second signing for the 2010 Indy Lights series - and gets shot at Indy 500 into the bargain.
Bryan Herta Autosport has continued its expansion with owners Bryan Herta and Steve Newey announcing the addition of Colombian ace Sebastian Saavedra to the team's 2010 Firestone Indy Lights campaign.
Saavedra will join British talent Stefan Wilson, who was signed earlier this month, for a full Indy Lights campaign, but will also tackle the Indianapolis 500 as the second-year BHA team makes its first foray into the IZOD IndyCar Series.
“This is a very proud day for Bryan Herta Autosport,” its eponymous owner commented, “Sebastian and Stefan will make a very formidable driving team and will help to raise our programme 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.”
Saavedra returns for a second season of Indy Lights, after finishing third in last year's championship with AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing. His impressive rookie campaign included a pair of wins, at Kansas and Toronto, and a season tally of seven podiums and seven front-row starts. The 19-year old Bogota native was previously runner-up and rookie of the year in the 2008 ATS F3 Cup in Germany, where he took three wins and eight podium finishes after graduating from FBMW.
“I have been talking to Bryan for some time and now everything is underway and I am very excited,” he said, “The programme looks amazing, and is something we can build on for the future. It will be great to have Stefan as a team-mate and to work with Bryan and Steve, 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 admitted that he was equally excited about the prospect of making his IndyCar debut and following in the illustrious footsteps of fellow Colombians Roberto Guerrero and Juan Pablo Montoya by tackling the 500.
“Obviously, the Indy 500 is an important event for me,” he added,. “It is an honour 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 in Bogota. In the interim, BHA will be participating in the Firestone Indy Lights test at Barber Motorsports Park on 26 February with both Saavedra and Wilson taking to the track.
“We are thrilled to have Sebastian join the team,” Newey commented, “I was extremely impressed by his performance last year, when 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, and we plan to give Sebastian the opportunity to showcase his talent and compete for the championship.”
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