Mutoh to make Indy Car debut in Chicago
At a press conference today, Super Aguri Panther Racing announced it will field a third IndyCar Series entry for its Indy Pro Series standout Hideki Mutoh for the season-ending race at Chicagoland Speedway.
The 24-year-old Mutoh currently leads the Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year standings in the Indy Pro Series. He claimed his first career victory on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in June and has posted eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes in 11 starts.
Mutoh's red and white No. 60 car will be sponsored by the Honda Formula Dream Project, a long-range program aimed at developing the talented drivers who compete in world-class racing events. Blair Perschbacher, the race engineer on Mutoh's No. 55 car in the Indy Pro Series, will also be making the move to the IndyCar Series. Mutoh will test his car at Kentucky Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Infineon Raceway to prepare for his debut.
JOHN BARNES (Co-owner, Panther Racing): "The entire Panther team is extremely excited to help Hideki Mutoh make his debut in the IndyCar Series at Chicago. He's proved to all of us that he deserves this opportunity by the way he's performed in the Indy Pro Series and the way he's driven the IndyCar Series car during testing. Everybody here loves the way he approaches the sport mentally and the tenacity he's shown us on the racetrack. Hideki is a special driver who has a bright future in open-wheel racing, and we look forward to seeing him in a Panther car." (About Mutoh): "I've said it before this year, but Hideki does remind me of Sam (Hornish Jr.) In racing, it's one thing to be fast, but Mutoh is mentally tough and he never quits in a race car - the same qualities that helped Hornish be so successful in the No. 4 car. I've seen it since day one with Hideki and he's proved that time and again on the racetrack this season."
HIDEKI MUTOH (Driver, No. 60 Honda Formula Dream Project Dallara/Honda/ Firestone): "I'm very happy and excited about this opportunity to race for Super Aguri Panther Racing in the IndyCar Series. I have learned a lot this season in the Indy Pro Series and want to do well at Chicagoland. I have to thank John Barnes, Aguri Suzuki, the Honda Formula Dream Project and everybody at Super Aguri Panther Racing for giving me this chance - it has been a goal of mine since I arrived in the United States. I also look forward to working with Vitor (Meira) and Kosuke (Matsuura), who have been a big help to me as I adjust to this style of racing."
AGURI SUZUKI (Super Aguri Panther Racing Project Leader): "Since Hideki entered the Indy Pro Series this year, he has won a race and his results have been very impressive. Although the season is not over yet, we decided to give him an opportunity to race in the final round of IndyCar Series in Chicagoland Speedway. He gained this chance by his good performance, so I want him to enjoy the race."