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Servia's last-second sign-up for 2011

Oriol Servia has signed a last-minute deal to race for the Newman/Haas Racing team for the whole of the 2011 IndyCar season, starting with this weekend's opener at St Petersburg.
Veteran US open wheel racer Oriol Servia has completed a last-minute deal putting him in an IndyCar seat for the 2011 season.

He will race for Newman/Haas Racing, having seen off James Hinchcliffe's rival efforts to claim the race seat. At last week's pre-season testing at Barber Motor Speedway, Servia finished with the fifth best time overall behind the three Penske drivers and Scott Dixon, while Hinchcliffe was close behind in seventh position overall - but the difference meant that Seria successfully claimed the #02 car for the year.

"I honestly believe the test couldn't have gone better," said Servia in the team press release ahead of this weekend's season opener at St Petersburg. "I found the whole Newman/Haas team exactly how I left it: willing to do whatever it takes to let the driver do what he does best and get to the front. With one difference though - and that is that the whole team is hungrier than ever and everybody is working like it was their first race, only with 28 years of experience."

Servia last raced for the team in 2009 for four appearances toward the end of the year. He has competed in Indy Lights (winning the title in 1999) and moved to Champ Car the following year, in which his best season was 2005 when he came second in the championship with Dale Coyne Racing and Newman/Haas. His best season in IndyCar was in 2008 with KV Racing, which was the only year he had a full season of starts and ended up ninth in the championship.

"I am energized, focused and better prepared than ever," he said, brushing off concerns that his late signing may lead to a lack of preparedness for the start of the season. "I have watched last year's race and read the famous NHR preparation report for St. Pete a few times. We are ready.

"I expect us to be competitive from the get go in St. Pete. No excuses of being rusty after a year off or anything. I feel ready and the team has a great track record in St Pete and all street races in general. I expect us to shine."

The team says that Hinchcliffe will be part of the organisation, but as yet has no car to drive unless and until sponsorship can be found for him. Until then, Servia will be the team's only entry into the 2011 IndyCar series.

Spanish driver Servia will be wearing a specially designed helmet for this weekend's run, in honour of his compatriot, artist Salvador Dali - the Dali Museum in Florida is in the area of the city encircled by the St Petersburg road course. "I will be wearing my Dali helmet and with the new Dali museum just reopening, I feel I have a special connection with the event," he said. "It is the biggest Dali museum outside of Spain and I am really looking forward to going there on Thursday afternoon."



Related Pictures

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Oriol Servia - KV Racing Technology   [pic credit: IRL/Jones]
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Degree Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, raced to a sixth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sage Karam, driver of the #8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, races to a fifth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
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Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a second-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon climbs into his car on pit road for his qualifying run during qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on pit lane after qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates capturing the pole position during qualifying Friday, June 26, 2015, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates capturing the pole position during qualifying Friday, June 26, 2015, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Friday, June 26, 2015, capturing the pole position for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon enters Turn 3 during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on pit lane following practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter, and Tony Kanaan go three-wide during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Luca Filippi, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, races to a second-place finish Sunday, June 14, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Fillip`s teammate, Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6, won the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, June 14, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Newgarden`s teammate, Luca Filippi, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6, finished second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, takes the chequered flag Sunday, June 14, 2015 to win the Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Newgarden`s teammate, Luca Filippi, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6, finished second. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, races to victory Sunday, June 14, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Newgarden`s teammate, Luca Filippi (rear), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6, finished second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Luca Filippi and Josef Newgarden celebrate with the CFH Racing team after finishing 1-2 in the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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