Servia and Hinchcliffe to test for Newman/Haas Racing UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Eight-time Indy car champions Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) announced today that they will hold a two-day test at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway course in Sebring, Fla. on December 13-14 in preparation for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Oriol Servia, who brought NHR a win and seven podium finishes, and James Hinchcliffe, who was runner-up to the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights champion will each test both days.
Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 15 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of seven top-three, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. In 2005, Servia replaced NHR driver Bruno Junqueira, who suffered a season-ending injury at the Indy 500 on May 29, and then went on to finish second to teammate Sebastien Bourdais in the point standings after 11 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi.
“I am obviously very excited, not only to be back in a race car but to be back in a Newman/Haas car,” said Oriol Servia. “Every time I have driven a Newman/Haas car we have been able to make improvements and deliver results. They have some of the best engineers and the team members are among the hardest working in the sport. It’s the situation every driver wants; to just focus on making improvements with the car.”
Toronto native James Hinchcliffe, 23, will test an Indy car for the first time with NHR. He finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after wins in Long Beach, Edmonton and Chicagoland and poles in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Watkins Glen and Edmonton. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races. Hinchcliffe progressed through the ranks of the Rotax (2002), F2000 (2003), Formula BMW (2004), Star Mazda (2005), and Atlantic series (2006-2008) before joining the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2009. He also competed in a season of A1GP competition (2007).
“I can't express how excited I am to get my first test in an Indy car!” said James Hinchcliffe. “I grew up watching Indy cars and always dreamed of one day driving one so this really is a dream come true. And to get my first taste of this car with a team the caliber of Newman/Haas Racing is really special. Their record speaks for itself and to get to work with them is a real privilege. It will certainly help me tackle the job of getting up to speed. I want to thank the Haas’ for this incredible opportunity. For sure this test is just the first step for me toward racing full time in the IZOD IndyCar Series. I will simply try to learn as much as I can and do the best job possible for the team.”
“This test will give us a great start to prepare for 2011,” said Brian Lisles, general manager of Newman/Haas Racing. “And we look forward to introducing James to the IZOD IndyCar Series, and renewing our long and successful relationship with Oriol.”11/30/10 Rumor has it that Canadian James Hinchcliffe may test an IndyCar with Newman/Haas Racing on Dec. 14-15 at Sebring International Raceway. The talented 23-year-old concluded his 2010 Indy Lights season ranked second in the drivers’ championship behind J.K. Vernay with three wins and 10 top-fives in 13 starts. Vernay is another Indy Lights driver expected to land an IndyCar ride in 2011. No word yet on which team that may be.