Bryan Herta Autosport Signs Sebastian Saavedra, Indy 500 bid
Bryan Herta Autosport continues its expansion with owners Bryan Herta and Steve Newey today announcing the addition of Colombian rising star Sebastian Saavedra to the team’s 2010 Firestone Indy Lights campaign. Saavedra will join British talent Stefan Wilson, who was named earlier this month. The second-year team also will make its first foray into the IZOD IndyCar Series, fielding an entry for Saavedra in the Indianapolis 500.
“This is a very proud day for Bryan Herta Autosport,” said Herta. “Sebastian and Stefan will make a very formidable driving team and will help to raise our program to the next level. I know they will be pushing us and each other all season long. And to be able to announce our entry into the Indy 500 this year is another step in the plan Steve and I set for the team when it was formed just one year ago. There is much work ahead for us but today we want to take a breath and enjoy this moment. We can’t wait for the season to get started.”
Saavedra, 19, from Bogota, will return for his second season of Indy Lights competition after finishing third in last year’s championship with AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing. His impressive rookie campaign included a pair of wins at Kansas and Toronto, and a season tally of seven podiums, eight top-five and 11 top-ten finishes and seven front-row starts. Saavedra was runner-up and Rookie of the Year in the 2008 ATS Formula 3 Cup in Germany with three wins and eight podium finishes. Since graduating from karting in 2005, he also contested two seasons of Formula BMW claiming wins in the U.S. and Asia series.
“I have been talking to Bryan for some time and now everything is underway and I am very excited,” said Saavedra. “The program looks amazing. It is something we can build on for the future. It will be great to have Stefan as a teammate and to work with Bryan and Steve who know what winning is like. I will be working hard to be the best-prepared mentally and physically. My goal for the championship is to bring the gold home.”
Saavedra is equally excited about the prospect of making his IndyCar debut and following in the illustrious footsteps of fellow Colombians Roberto Guerrero and Juan Pablo Montoya.
“Obviously, the Indy 500 is an important event for me,” added Saavedra. “It is an honor as only the third Colombian to do it. Bryan has raced at Indy five times and it is a great relief to have someone who knows what to do to guide me through this important occasion. I will be very focused to do a good job.”
Saavedra and Herta will travel to Colombia next week for a press conference on March 2 in Bogota. In the interim, BHA will be participating in the Firestone Indy Lights test at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on February 26 with Saavedra and Wilson.
“We are thrilled to have Sebastian join the team,” said Newey. “I was extremely impressed by his performance last year. He was very competitive at every race. I am glad he is on our side now and we don’t have to compete against him. We plan to give Sebastian the opportunity to showcase his talent and compete for the championship.”
BHA relocated to a new race shop headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., in December and continues to grow as it prepares for the Firestone Indy Lights season-opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 28 and its IZOD IndyCar Series debut in May.