Sebastian Saavedra will get his second IZOD IndyCar Series outing of the year at Sonoma on August 26, after Andretti Autosport announced that they were once again pairing up with AFS Racing to field the #17 car for the Colombian.
“I am very excited about this great opportunity," said the 22-year-old racer. "I really enjoy driving in Sonoma; there is something about the place that makes it special."
Saavedra was an IndyCar regular with Conquest Racing in 2011, but struggled for results and to find funding for his last few races, leading him to opt to return to the Firestone Indy Lights series for 2012 and to act as a test and development driver for the Andretti squad. He also got an opportunity to run the #17 co-venture in May at the Indianapolis 500, eventually finishing in 26th place after the car suffered technical problems.
"I'm very proud of Sebastian. Clearly, deciding to run the full season of Firestone Indy Lights was the right one." said Gary Peterson, the owner of AFS Racing. "He's gotten more oval and road course experience, test driven the IndyCars, and run the Indy 500. Now, he's getting another IndyCar opportunity at Sonoma.
"Everything we're doing is putting Seb in an excellent position to build upon his future and help set the stage for a great AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport 2013 program," added Peterson. "He is a talented driver with a great attitude; he has what it takes to become an IndyCar champion.”
Andretti Autosport team principal Michael Andretti echoed those thoughts. “I've been impressed this year with Sebastian," he said. "Running this season in Firestone Indy Lights provides great testing opportunities and is the best decision for Sebastian as he works to advance in the sport. Having the opportunity to run both the Indy 500 and at Sonoma lets him ease into the new DW12 car and back into the Series."
Saavedra is currently third in the Indy Lights championship standings, having claimed one win and five podium positions in the eight races so far.
It was announced earlier in the week that Saavedra would take part in the test day scheduled for Sonoma on August 17 along with his Andretti Autosport team mates Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti. Also scheduled to attend the test are Penske trio Will Power, Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves; Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais; Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Takuma Sato; Schmidt-Hamilton's Simon Pagenaud; and owner-driver Ed Carpenter.
Andretti Autosport is currently riding high in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, with three back-to-back wins for Hunter-Reay putting the American 34pts ahead of Power at the top of the title battle.