Martin Plowman finally has a chance to make the leap up from Indy Lights to the full IndyCar series, thanks to a three-race deal with Sam Schmidt Motorsports and AFS Racing.
"I'm thrilled to finally complete one of my goals, driving in the IndyCar Series," said Plowman. "This day is the one I have been looking forward to for the last 15 years."
The 23-year-old British driver from Tamworth, England will make his senior series debut on August 7 in the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a venue that saw him win in the junior series last year. This time around he'll be driving the #17 IndyCar formerly occupied for the first few road courses of the year by Raphael Matos.
"Mid-Ohio is without a doubt one of my favorite circuits. Making my debut there, especially in a red and yellow car, makes it even more sentimental," said Plowman at the announcement of the deal that will also see him compete at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway, Sears Point on August 28 and in the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix on September 4.
Plowman previously finished third in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights championship with AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport alongside Charlie Kimball, having previously notched up eight top-10 finishes in his maiden season in the US in 2009 with Panther Racing.
"I have been following Martin since last year and am delighted that he finally has the opportunity to show his talents in an IndyCar," said Rob Edwards, Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) team manager. "He has worked incredibly hard outside of the car to make this happen and I know that same work ethic will bring results on track."
The link-up between SSM and AFS means that Sam Schmidt finally achieves his goal of having a two-car team in IndyCar, with Plowman lining up alongside the #77 Bowers & Wilkins full-season entry driven by Alex Tagliani who has already claimed pole position at the Indianapolis 500 and the following race at Texas Motor Speedway for the first Firestone Twin 275.
“In our pursuit to develop partnerships and relationships to enable the team to compete with two full-time entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012, we have secured sponsorship for select races starting with Mid-Ohio," said Sam Schmidt. "We didn't have the equipment or personnel to facilitate the program [but AFS team owner] Gary Peterson and AFS Racing did."
Edwards added, "We have wanted to grow our team to two cars since the end of last season and I am excited that we are going to achieve that goal together."
Last month it was also confirmed
that Britain's Pippa Mann was getting her own three-race deal with Rahal Letterman Lanigan and will be competing at New Hampshire, Kentucky and Las Vegas.