Driver Max Papis has been tabbed to pilot the Rubicon Race Team entry and attempt to qualify for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on May 25.
Papis, widely regarded as one of the most versatile race car drivers in the world, will attempt to make his third start in the famed “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in a Dallara/Honda/Firestone car owned by Jim Freudenberg and Jason Priestley and prepared by Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Traveling to the brickyard with Papis will be his personal sponsor GEICO. GEICO will be prominently displayed on the rear wing of the car, as well as the top of the sidepods, top of the nosecone and the tire ramp, along with Max’s drivers suit and the pit crew uniforms.
The 2004 Grand-Am Rolex Series Champion, Papis was born in Como, Italy, and now resides in Mooresville, North Carolina. He has made over 100 open wheel race starts, including starts in two prior Indianapolis 500’s, and 9 Formula One races. Papis now also serves as a test driver for NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports and participates in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, where he recorded a third place finish on August 4, 2007 in Montreal.
“We are thrilled to have Max and GEICO on board with Rubicon for the month of May,” said team owner Jason Priestley. “Max is very smart as a driver and in his past outings at Indianapolis, he has gotten up to speed quickly, qualified well and been extremely competitive in the race. Since we are only running at Indianapolis, we need a veteran driver like Max who is competitive right out of the garage.”
Aside from recording three wins in the former CART Series, Papis has been one of the top competitors in American sports-car racing. He has posted an overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2002, as well as a Grand-American Rolex Sports Car Series championship in 2004. As a works GM driver for the Corvette Racing team, Papis has recorded two wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and a win at Petit Le Mans, as well as two runner-up finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Papis, whose father-in-law is legendary racer Emerson Fittipaldi, looks forward to his return to the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I’m extremely committed to deliver a great result for the Rubicon Race Team and our sponsors,” Papis enthused. “I will be out on the track making every lap count and especially the last one. This year will be particularly special to have my wife, Tatiana, and son, Marco, at the track as they will be reunited with family since Emerson will be driving the pace car. It will be magical and make the 500 even more special.”
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