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Nelson Philippe to land Indy ride UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  In an exclusive interview with FOX Car Report LIVE!, former Champ Car driver Nelson Philippe said that he is planning to enter the first carbon neutral team to compete in a major professional motorsport at the 2009 Indy 500.

In collaboration with HVM Racing, who will field the car for Philippe, the “i Drive Green” team is taking steps become the first to take the green flag at The Brickyard carrying a green certification from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

“All the crew members and all of the mechanics, they’re not happy about it but they have all had to become eco drivers, the truck driver has become an eco driver as well, and the goal is to make sure that we can offset our carbon footprint,” Philippe says.

In conjunction with the race, Philippe will be teaming up with EcoDrivingUSA, an educational organization backed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to hold a series of events at the track aiming educating people on how they can drive the cars they currently own in a more efficient manner.

“You don’t have to have a hybrid car to get better mileage, you can have a big pickup and if you learn how to become an ecodriver you can increase your fuel mileage by up to 33 percent and drastically reduce your future emissions right now.”

Casual observers of the sport may not realize that auto racing isn’t always about keeping your foot to the floor as much as possible. Drivers often conserve fuel to get a competitive edge, spending less time in the pits refueling as a result.

Philippe explains, “the way we save fuel in the racecar, which translates to ecodriving techniques, is to be smooth with the accelerator. I don’t have a cruise control in my car, but I try to keep the gas pedal at the same level and try not to rev it too much.” More at FOX News

04/23/09 Recall we reported seeing Nelson Philippe at St. Petersburg in talks about a possible IndyCar ride.  We hear that an announcement could be coming any day now that would see Philippe drive for HVM Racing in the Indy 500.  Not sure yet if it will include other races.
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