Venezuela's EJ Viso has been confirmed as the driver of the #5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Chevrolet entry in this year's IZOD IndyCar Series championship.
The car will be a co-entry between Andretti Autosport and HVM Racing, along with the newly-formed Team Venezuela. This means that Viso will effectively be team mates with the rest of the Andretti stable consisting of James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti and reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay with whom he will share technical resources, data and debriefings in a seamless manner.
“I could not ask for more than to get the opportunity to drive for a championship team while representing my country,” said the 27-year-old Viso. “After five years in the series I believe I have found the right environment and look forward to having Ryan, James and Marco as team mates.
"I'm very proud to be able to move into the 2013 season with this new relationship," he added. "It's a dream come true."
Viso started his racing career in the UK and competed in British Formula 3 in 2004 against Will Power before moving to Formula 3000 International the following year and then competing in two full seasons of GP2 with BCN and iSport.
In 2008 he was signed by HVM to race in the newly-unified IndyCar Series, and after two seasons with the team he moved to KV Racing technology in 2010. That year saw his only podium finish in the series at Iowa and his highest position in the final standings (17th). In total, he's made 84 starts in five seasons to date, and along the way claimed 16 top ten finishes.
Least year he was paired with Tony Kanaan and Rubens Barrichello at KV, but still found that breakthrough success to be elusive, prompting him to put together a 'no more excuses' 2013 initiative.
“I have been following EJ's career for quite some time and was able to help him get his start in racing 22 years ago,” said Vicente Tralci, who has formed Team Venezuela with the backing of Venezuela's state-owned petroleum company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), which also backs Pastor Maldonado in F1. "It's an honour to be able to bring this opportunity to him and to pair with Andretti Autosport. It has always been our dream to be partnered with a team of such high reputation or results.
“We are happy to welcome EJ to the team and to again be running four cars,” said Michael Andretti, the CEO of Andretti Autosport. “He has shown speed in his early years as a driver which we view as very promising, and his personality will lend well to the overall chemistry of the drivers and crew.
"I'd like to thank Keith and HVM for their assistance in this project," he added, acknowledging the importance of HVM owner Keith Wiggins in bringing the deal together in terms of providing an engine lease, a DW12 chassis and funding via the $1 million Leaders Circle funding announced on Wednesday.