Bryan Herta Autosport has announced that it has signed Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves to drive for them in the upcoming 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season, taking over from Jack Hawksworth who has already announced his move to AJ Foyt Racing.

"We're excited to have Gabby join the team this year," said BHA team co-owner Bryan Herta. "In December we had the opportunity to test him at Sebring and his speed and feedback were very impressive. Gabby has the skills and mindset to make a real impact in IndyCar."

It will be the second year in a row that BHA have opted to field a rookie driver in their single #98 entry, but Herta insisted that this didn't worry him in the slightest.

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"Recent experience has shown that top drivers graduating from Indy Lights have transitioned to IndyCar with great success," he said. "We have had the opportunity to work with a few rookie drivers in the last couple years and we believe we have a great environment to support their development and achieve great results.

"I see no reason why Gabby should not be a top contender for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honours," Herta added.

Chaves arrives in the series on the back of four Indy Lights wins in 2014 on his way to the overall title, including the Freedom 100 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway which is the support event to the Indy 500.

"I'm so excited and honoured to be the latest Colombian driver in IndyCar," said the 21-year-old. "Our country has such a great history in the sport and especially at the Indianapolis 500 with drivers like Roberto Guerrero, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Carlos Munoz ~I can't wait to make my own history there!"

"I'd like to thank my personal team that has been supporting me since the start of my career," he continued. "It's been an incredible journey and to finally become a Verizon IndyCar driver is an awesome feeling and the start of a great future.

"I'd also like to thank Bryan Herta and the entire BHA team for this opportunity," Chaves added. "I'm really excited and prepared to get the 2015 season underway."

Corporate partners for the #98 team will be revealed in a series of upcoming announcements. The first race of the 2015 season will be on March 29 on the streets of St Petersburg, following confirmation that the planned season opener in Brazil has been cancelled.