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Aleshin to IndyCar with SPM

Former World Series by Renault champion Mikhail Aleshin is IndyCar-bound with Schmidt Petersen Motorsport...
Erstwhile F1 hopeful Mikhail Aleshin has been revealed as the latest addition to the 2014 IndyCar Series line-up.

The 26-year old Russian, who most recently competed in the World Series by Renault, has signed to drive Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' second entry as team-mate to Simon Pagenaud next season.

Aleshin, who had been linked to a possible F1 move before being overtaken in the race to be the first Russian in the category by the likes of Vitaly Petrov and, from 2014, Daniil Kvyat, tested with SPM at Sebring International Raceway earlier this week. The Muscovite tested with both Lotus and Red Bull before sponsorship issues forced him to turn back to the WSbR, which he won – ahead of imminent Red Bull F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo – in 2010.

“[Sebring] was my first test in an IndyCar and things were much different than what I'm used to inside a car,” Aleshin said, “In Europe, there are different standards, but I like [this car] already - it's really fun to drive.

“The last two or three years, I've been looking in this direction and, at one point in the middle of the 2013 season, I decided that I just needed to change something. SMP Racing, my main sponsor, decided it would be a good idea to try something in the US because there are no Russian drivers at this level and, considering the experience I have, we thought it would all come together [in IndyCar].”

Team owner Sam Schmidt's operation is on the rise after a strong 2013 campaign spearheaded by Pagenaud's two wins and third place in the overall standings.

“We are extremely pleased to have Mikhail partnered with Simon for the 2014 season,” Schmidt said, ”He is extremely mature and talented but, like so many up-and-coming drivers in the European system, there just weren't enough opportunities for him to advance to F1. We have already found his driving style to be very similar to Simon's and believe he can contribute immediately to the programme, even as a rookie.”

“I can't wait to see how Mikhail's success in competing against some of the biggest stars of the European racing scene will translate in IndyCar and with our team in particular,” co-owner Ric Peterson added, “We proved in 2013 that we can challenge the biggest teams in our sport and the addition of this young, talented driver will only elevate us further.”



Related Pictures

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Simon Pagenaud leads Scott Dixon through the chicane during the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sunday September 1 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin - Tech 1 [Pic credit: Renault Sport]
Mikhail Aleshin - Tech 1 [Pic credit: Renault]
Conor Daly and his father, Derek, at their 2015 Indianapolis 500 announcement with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
(L to R) Derek Daly, Sam Schmidt, Conor Daly, and Ric Peterson announce their entry in the 2015 Indianapolis 500 at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finishes third fastest during qualifying Saturday, April 24, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Pagenaud and Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Will Power had the fastest qualifying times. Castrovenes won the pole position. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Conor Daly announces his entry into the 2015 Indianapolis 500 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads teammate Simon Pagenaud on course during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud in action during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud in action during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud in action during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by John Cote for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe celebrates with the Schmidt Peterson Motorsport team after victory in the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana on Sunday, April 12, 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud berates Ryan Hunter-Reay after their crash in turn 3 near the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday April 12 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais talks with Simon Pagenaud after their crash in turn 3 near the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday April 12 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud at St Petersburg. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud at St Petersburg. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud at St Petersburg. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud rolls toward the chicane during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Friday March 27 2015. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)

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