Simon Pagenaud was called up by HVM to stand in for its regular driver, Switzerland's Simona De Silvestro, during practice for IndyCar's Sonoma Grand Prix yesterday (Friday). Simona was held up by a technical problem with US Customs at the airport on her return to the country after visiting her family in Europe. The young lady driver will replace Simon once she arrives at the Californian circuit. Simon Pagenaud was in Spain testing for Peugeot Sport when he was contacted by his manager Derrick Walker who told him that HVM's Keith Wiggins would need his services to drive the N°78 Dallara.
"Driving racing cars is my job, and it's a job I love," said the French driver as he arrived in the paddock at Sonoma. "Everybody knows that I want to race in IndyCar next year, so I'm up for any opportunity I can get to drive, especially when it's for such a good team as HVM…"
08/26/11 On Thursday, HVM Racing was forced to make a quick and smart decision as its star driver, Simona De Silvestro, experienced travel complications coming back to the United States from her home country of Switzerland.
After testing at Infineon Raceway last week with other drivers in the IZOD IndyCar Series, De Silvestro traveled home to visit with family and friends. Upon trying to return to the U.S., she encountered a technical issue with CBP. The team is now working diligently to resolve the issues but at the same time, does not want to risk missing valuable track time.
HVM Racing has enlisted the help of French driver Simon Pagenaud, who will pilot the No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car for Friday's practice session and until the team is able to have De Silvestro back in the cockpit.
"It's an unfortunate situation," says HVM Team Owner, Keith Wiggins. "We could never have imagined this kind of an issue going into a race weekend and it just adds more challenges to our 2011 season, but it's in the team's best interest to continue our program. We're lucky to have another world-class driver like Simon Pagenaud who's willing to step up and work with us to achieve a successful result."
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