Andretti Autosport has announced that it has signed 27-year-old British driver Mike Conway to drive for them in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.
Conway has previously appeared in 23 IndyCar races driving for the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team, but in the 2010 Indianapolis 500
he was involved in a serious accident on the final lap when he collided with Ryan Hunter-Reay who was out of fuel and suddenly slowed up. Conway's car was sent spinning into the air and was torn apart by the safety fencing: he sustained a compression fracture of one of his thoracic vertebrae that put him in a back brace and out of racing for the rest of the year.
Now fully recovered, Conway has been signed to race a full season for Andretti Autosport in 2011 - where ironically Ryan Hunter-Reay will now be his team mate, along with Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick in a four-car line-up. The team had previously let Tony Kanaan go at the end of 2010
after the loss of Kanaan's primary sponsor
, 7-Eleven, Inc. Kanaan has since signed a deal with De Ferran Dragon
"This is a really exciting moment in my career to be racing for Andretti Autosport," said Conway. "It's going to be an honor working with some great people and great teammates, and I can't wait to get started."
"Mike is a great addition to our team, for sure. He is talented, has a lot of potential and should really fit in well with our team here," said Michael Andretti, the team's Chief Executive Officer. "He's got great credentials, has raced in some very competitive formulas and is a proven winner. We're really excited to be able to bring him to Andretti Autosport."
Conway's previous best result in IndyCar was third at Sonoma in 2009. He raced in the GP2 series from 2006 until 2008 for DPR, Super Nova and Trident and won the Monaco sprint race in his last year in the series. He was also a test driver for the Honda F1 team in 2007 and 2008, and had previously won the British Formula Renault Championship (2004) and British F3 International Series (2006) before going on to win the Macau Grand Prix the same year.
"I can't wait to hit the track and start achieving some great results," said Conway, who is managed by former F1 and CART driver Mark Blundell. "Everyone is fired up, especially me, and I'm ready for the challenge ahead."
More details - including the sponsorship arrangements - will be announced at a later date. An Open Test is scheduled for March 14-15 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, and the team also has a testing day planned the week before at Sebring International Raceway.
The first race in the 2011 IndyCar season is the St Petersburg road race on March 27.