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Beatriz back for Sao Paulo and Indianapolis

"Our team has had a lot of momentum recently and this is a program that fits in very well with everything we are doing in other series," he continued. "This will be a historic year for the 500 with all new cars and it gives us a great opportunity to fight for a top spot with Ana in the car."

Beatriz was the first female driver to win a race in the Firestone Indy Lights series with victory in the 2008 Nashville race. She went on to compete in 20 IndyCar races, starting with the São Paulo race in 2010 and claiming a career-best result of 11th at Toronto in 2011.

Beatriz' signing for the two rounds highlights the importance of the Brazilian market as a course of sponsorship for IndyCar teams, especially now that the series has extra interest from Brazilian fans after the signing of Rubens Barrichello as a full time series regular.

"Brazil is an important, growing market for many of our sponsors, so to have a Brazilian driver and Ipiranga come aboard with us made a lot of sense," agreed Andretti. Ipiranga is one of Brazil's iconic petroleum and convenience retail companies.

As well as Beatriz and the regular three-car line-up of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe, the team will also be fielding another 2011 season regular, Sebastian Saavedra, in an AFS Racing co-entry at Indianapolis. Saavedra is back in Firestone Indy Lights this season and won his first race of the season at Barber Motorsports park. He is also working as a test and reserve driver for the Andretti IndyCar squad in 2012.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ana Beatriz sets out onto the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Ana Beatriz and Dennis Reinbold confer. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Ana Beatriz at Infineon Raceway, Sonoma [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Luca Filippi   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Josef Newgarden - Ed Carpenter Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Shawn Gritzmacher]
Will Power - Penske  [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
James Hinchcliffe - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Josef Newgarden - Ed Carpenter Racing [credit: Chris Jones]
James Hinchcliffe - Schmidt Peterson [credit: Chris Owens]
Carlos Munoz celebrates his first IndyCar pole at Texas Motor Speedway
Spencer Pigot - Ed Carpenter Racing
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [image credit: IndyCar Media/Bret Kelley]
Sebastian Bourdais (KVSH Racing) celebrates in Detroit   [image creid: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Sebastian Bourdais - KVSH Racing   [image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Alex Rossi, Indy 500 [Credit: IndyCar]
Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport

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