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Giorgio Pantano to fill in for Justin Wilson

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing have signed up Italian former F1 driver Giorgio Pantano to drive for them at the Infineon Raceway road course and on the streets of Baltimore.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing have signed up former F1 driver Giorgio Pantano to drive the #22 car in place of the injured Justin Wilson for two of the remaining races of the 2011 season.

Pantano will drive for the team in the Indy Grand prix of Sonoma in California at the Infineon Raceway on August 28, and then a week later will join the IndyCar field a second time, for the maiden Baltimore Grand Prix on the streets of the Maryland city.

"We are extremely excited about putting Giorgio in our car at Sonoma and Baltimore," said Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner, Dennis Reinbold. "Giorgio has a lot of experience and talent and we believe he will be a good fit ... He will add another dimension to our program and we are happy to have him on board for those events."

While it will be Pantano's IndyCar Series d├ębut, he appeared in the predecessor Indy Racing League championship with Chip Ganassi Racing for two road course outings in 2005, finishing fourth in the race at Watkins Glen International.

Pantano had a frustrating season in F1 with Jordan-Ford in 2004, having previously come up through the ranks in International Formula 3000. Subsequently he became best known for four seasons of competition in the GP2 feeder series, where he won the championship in 2008 and held the record for most races competed and most races won in the series. He raced in Superleague Formula in 2009 and spent 2010 in AutoGP racing.

"For me, this is a very good opportunity," said the 32-year-old native of Padua, Italy. "I want to say thank you to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and the sponsors for giving me this opportunity. I'm here to do the best that I can as always and I look forward to the chance to compete."

The team said that they would be giving Pantano some test time in the car ahead of the race, with a session this weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.

The team added that no decisions had been made on who would drive the #22 for the remainder of the 2011 season, which includes a third road race at Motegi in Japan on September 17, and two oval courses at Kentucky and Las Vegas in October.

So far, French driver Simon Pagenaud stood in for Wilson with 90 minutes notice at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, while the team turned to South African Tomas Scheckter to race for them on the one mile oval at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.




Related Pictures

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Giorgio Pantano (ITA, Racing Engineering) receives the 2008 GP2 championship trophy. [Photo credit: Andrew Ferraro/GP2 Series Media Service.]
Giorgio Pantano when competing in two road races for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2005. [Photo credit: IndyCar Media]
Simon Pagenaud enters Turn 4 during practice for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud in action (Photo by: Eric Anderson for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud in action (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson and Charlie Kimball go side-by-side for the start of the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson exits Turn 2 during practice for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson waits on pit lane prior to qualifications for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates victory in the second race of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates victory in the second race of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates victory in the second race of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates victory in the second race of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves lead into turn 1 at the start of the first race of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates winning pole position for race 1 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates winning pole position for race 1 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates winning pole position for race 1 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud on track in Practice 2. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud on track in Practice 2. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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