Bryan Herta Autosport have signed up veteran Canadian racing driver Alex Tagliani to drive for them in the forthcoming 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series.
"We are very proud to have Alex Tagliani join our team for our first full season of Indycar competition," said team principle Bryan Herta. "He brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the program, and is the perfect fit for us and our sponsor partners."
Tagliani started from pole position for last year's centennial Indianapolis 500 race, which was eventually won by BHA with Dan Wheldon at the wheel of their #98 car. BHA also ran Tagliani in the final race of the season - the aborted IZOD World Championship at Las Vegas - in preparation for the start of their full-time participation in IndyCar in 2012.
"I'm really happy to drive for BHA," said a delighted Tagliani. "Having known Bryan for a long time, I recognise that he's a nice guy with genuine integrity. I believe that he and Steve Newey deserve to own a great IndyCar team, and I'm honoured to be part of the building of BHA's 2012 program."
The BHA car that Tagliani will be climbing into will bear the iconic Lotus black-and-gold colours, following the team's earlier announcement that they were to become a factory partner team to the engine manufacturer.
Tagliani said that it would be "a great honour for me to represent the Lotus brand as a factory partner," adding: "Lotus has so much history in the world of motorsports."
Neither Tagliani nor the team as a whole are underestimating the work ahead of them, however. While BHA have a head start in terms of gathering knowledge of the new 2012 IndyCar safety cell/chassis thanks to their involvement with the development and testing of the DW12 last year, this is offset against Lotus having the latest start of all the engine manufacturers coming on board this season.
"As a team, we have a lot of work in front of us," admitted Tagliani. "While challenging, it will be fun to be at the core of both engine and team development. BHA has a great group of people and I'm looking forward to working with them."
"Alex has the full support of a very talented group of professionals behind him," pointed out Herta, specially mentioning the expertise of Brian Page and newly re-signed veteran engineer Todd Malloy, as well as Don Lambert who will be in charge if leading Tagliani's pit crew during the season.