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March 6th, 2012
Sebastian Saavedra will be Andretti Autosport’s IndyCar test and reserve driver this year, as well as contesting the Indianapolis 500 in a car entered by Andretti and AFS Racing.
The 21-year-old Colombian will also return to Indy Lights with AFS/Andretti, and may get additional IndyCar outings too.
The deal marks the reunion of the AFS/Andretti partnership, which delivered Indy Lights titles for Raphael Matos and JR Hildebrand, and also ran Adam Carroll and Franck Montagny in occasional IndyCar events. Gary Peterson’s AFS operation worked with Sam Schmidt Motorsports instead in 2011.
Saavedra took third in Indy Lights with AFS/Andretti in 2009, and said he was delighted to be back with Peterson.
“I’m proud to be to be part of the AFS and Andretti Autosport family again,” said Saavedra, who raced in IndyCar with Conquest last year.
“Together we’ve had good times and I’m sure we can have them again. I want to thank Gary for believing in my talent and building this programme; he is always thinking of my future and the future of AFS Racing.
“This opportunity was built in a very intelligent manner and I’m looking forward to where it may take us.”
Peterson believes the link-up with Andretti and return to Lights is the best option for Saavedra’s future.
“I feel that the best career move Sebastian can make at this time, given the new IndyCars, is acting as a test driver for Andretti and racing the Indy 500 this season,” said Peterson.
“This puts him in the best possible position to advance toward his goal of becoming one of IndyCar’s elite drivers.”
Andretti Autosport team boss Michael Andretti said having Saavedra on board would also boost his IndyCar programme.
“With the new car, having a test driver will help us take our IZOD IndyCar Series programme closer to where we want it to be,” he said.
“We are optimistic about this relationship and will continue to explore opportunities with the goal of racing together beyond 2012.”