By the team's own estimation, their 2012 driver line-up of consisting of Rubens Barrichello, Tony Kanaan and EJ Viso "is one of - if not the - strongest lineups ever in the ten-year history of KV Racing Technology."

It's certainly the one getting all the attention ahead of the IZOD IndyCar Series season opener at St Petersburg this weekend. Now all the trio have to do it get out on track and prove it, to themselves and to the world as a whole.

"I have always had great memories here, and I am hoping that this year will not be any different," said series veteran Kanaan. "It's also nice to be back with KV Racing Technology for the second year - and with more preparation than this time last year!" he quipped, remembering how the deal to keep him in the series had come together only a matter of days before the race.

EJ Viso also has good memories of St Pete, having raced on the temporary street course for the previous four seasons. "It's a track that I truly have a connection to. Every time I've been there I've been consistently fast and in a few instances very close to a podium finish," he said, adding: "Hopefully the result we get this year will be the one that my team and I are working towards."

And what about the new boy who comes with 19 years of built-in Grand Prix racing experience? Despite all his seasons in F1, Barrichello is going to be facing a steep learning curve this weekend on a very different sort of course from that which he is used to.

"I'm very much looking forward to my first ever IndyCar race and can't wait to get to St Pete," he said. "We had some good testing but now its time to race. The only thing I know about this track, is what I have seen on TV and it looks very nice indeed.

"I hope that I can learn the track quickly so I can have a good weekend along with my team mates at KV Racing Technology," he added.

Team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven still sounded as if he was trying to regain his balance after a whirlwind start to the year surrounding Barrichello coming on board.

"Less than two months ago Rubens tested a KV Racing Technology car. At that time I thought we had less than a one percent chance of him driving for us for the season," he admitted. "Now, with Rubens joining Tony Kanaan and EJ Viso, we have one of the strongest driver lineups in the series."

"We have an exceptional lineup of drivers, a very competitive engine in Chevrolet and a great group of engineers and mechanics," agreed his co-owner, former race driver Jimmy Vasser. "Now it's time to run races and see how we stack up. I am confident we can be winners.

"This is going to be a very interesting and exciting season for our sponsors and fans," Vasser added. "We have new drivers, new cars, new engines and the field is very competitive."

The team's general manager, Mark Johnson, set KV's target as nothing less than their most successful season in the team's decade-long history in IndyCar, and said how proud he was of everyone who made up the team in managing to get KV Racing to St Pete in good shape.

"On one hand it seems the 2011 season just ended and on the other it seems we have been away from racing too long," Johnson said. "It has been a very productive off season developing the new Chevrolet power plant and the Dallara chassis and given where we have ranked at numerous tests, we are excited to finally be officially on track and to be able to see where everyone is with their programs."

In the official pre-season open test at Sebring International Raceway earlier this month, Barrichello performed impressively to finish with the fourth fastest time of the week and already mixing it with the likes of Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves and Will Power. Teething problems held back his team mates during the two days available to them on the Sebring short course, but KV Racing hope to have got on top of that with a further testing opportunity at Barber Motorsports Park the following week despite being hampered by some wet conditions.

But with so many changes to the series - a brand new Dallara chassis and new-specification engines from three different engine suppliers - no one is truly going to have an accurate picture of how the tams and drivers compare until they hit the track at St Pete this weekend, with the first practice starting just before noon on Friday.

IndyCar Series coverage is provided in the UK by Sky Sports. The first race of the season from St Petersburg is featured live on the new Sky Sports F1 channel on Sunday evening from 5.30pm.