Pantano to drive for Dreyer & Reinbold in Japan
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that Hawaiian-based company, Kona Deep, and Italian driver, Giorgio Pantano will return to the team in Japan. Pantano will replace the injured Justin Wilson this weekend and will drive the team's No. 22 Kona Deep entry for The Final Indy Japan.
The Hawaiian-based company joined forces as a sponsor partner with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing last year and came back on board this season. Kona Deep has served as a team associate for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series and will serve as the primary sponsor on the No. 22 machine at The Final Indy Japan this week. As for Pantano, he competed with DRR for the Sonoma and Baltimore races and will be back for the final road course event.
"We're elated to have Kona Deep on board as our primary partner for the final event in Japan. We've enjoyed our partnership the last two years and are looking forward to many years of growth in the future. We also couldn't be any happier about putting Giorgio back in our car for the race and having him represent Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Kona Deep. Giorgio did a fantastic job for us in Sonoma and Baltimore and we believe he will be really strong around the Japan road course," commented Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Co-Owner, Dennis Reinbold.
As a direct result of Kona Deep's motorsports partnership with DRR, Kona Deep became America's #1 selling deep sea drinking water beverage. Partnering with DRR allowed Kona Deep to leverage the domestic United States and the diverse schedule of the IZOD IndyCar Series season, enabling the brand to be introduced in geographic areas unable to reach otherwise.
"Through our DRR partnership, our on- and off-track marketing and promotional activities have allowed Kona Deep to get our differentiating message to the public of being the only 100% natural electrolyte mineral water in the world that does not contain any powdered electrolyte or mineral additives. Previously, and without the nationwide marketing reach of the DRR professionals, our important and singular message languished, and was simply being obscured and overshadowed by the presence of our more established competitors such as Gatorade®, Red Bull®, and the various proliferating offerings of the "coconut water" brands now on the market," commented Mark Mukai, Chairman, CEO and President of the Kona Deep Corporation.
Piloting the blue and white No. 22 Kona Deep machine will be Pantano. He will compete with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the third time at Japan on September 17th. The Padua, Italy native will return to the IZOD IndyCar Series after competing in the Auto GP Series last year and Superleague Formula in 2009. The Italian brings numerous experience to the table after winning the GP2 title in 2008, competing in F3000, Formula One and IndyCar for two road course events with Chip Ganassi Racing.
"I want to say thank you to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and sponsors for giving me this opportunity again. The last two races were really strong for us and I'm looking forward to running with the team again in Japan. I'm here to do the best that I can as always and I look forward to the chance to compete,” stated Pantano.
Decisions have not been made on a driver for the remainder of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Season.