INDYCAR announced that veteran racer Oriol Servia has been named a pace car driver for some Verizon IndyCar Series events this season, beginning with this weekend's Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM Raceway.
Servia will split duties with Sarah Fisher, who has been an INDYCAR pace car driver since 2016.
"Sarah has done a great job for us but she was unavailable for all of the races," said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations. "Oriol is a pro and was a pleasure to work with last year when we did our new car testing. He was a natural choice for this position. We're thrilled to have him."
Servia, 43 and a veteran of 202 Indy car races dating to his rookie season in 2000, will still compete in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next month, driving for a team in a partnership between Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and successful sports-car operation Scuderia Corsa. Other racing opportunities could develop for the Spaniard, which makes the flexibility of having two pace car drivers at INDYCAR's disposal a benefit.
"When they first came to me with this, I wasn't sure how to respond," Servia said. "I mean, I feel like I still have it, and I'm still racing at Indy, and I don't feel like I'm that old. At the same time, it's a great opportunity."
When Fisher started as a pace car driver two years ago, she shared the duties with legendary Indy car champion Johnny Rutherford. She drove the pace car at every INDYCAR event last season. Servia credited Rutherford, a three-time Indy 500 winner, with developing the pace car duties into a role of ambassador for the sport, something Fisher carries on today.
"It's an honor to be considered alongside Johnny Rutherford and Sarah Fisher," Servia said. "It's an incredible opportunity to give back to Indy car racing and connect with fans."
The Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix airs live at 9 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.