FORT WORTH (AP) – Oriol Servia is next in what could be a growing line of drivers for Panther Racing the rest of this IndyCar season.
Panther announced Wednesday that Servia will drive the No. 4 car in Saturday’s Firestone 50k race at Texas Motor Speedway, and then two weeks later in Iowa.
Servia was available since Dreyer & Reinbold Racing closed its program after the Indianapolis 500. Panther had a technical alliance with Dreyer & Reinbold.
“Oriol has been part of our extended family for over a year now, so this will be a seamless transition for the National Guard team,” Panther managing partner John Barnes said. “We know what Oriol is capable of, and our team is always happy to add a driver that can contend at any circuit on the IndyCar schedule.”
Panther isn’t expected to name a full-time replacement this season after announcing last week the mutual termination of JR Hildebrand’s contract. Barnes indicated there could be several different drivers before the end of the season to get a clear direction on who will have the seat in 2014.
“We’re going to take full advantage of the opening we have here to determine what is in the best interest of the National Guard and Panther Racing’s long-term future,” Barnes said. “With limited offseason testing this is a great chance for us to get familiar with several drivers in a true race weekend scenario. We think the world of Servia, and we couldn’t have been happier with Ryan Briscoe last weekend in Detroit, but there may be a few others who will have a run in our car before the season ends.”
Briscoe finished were he started both races in Detroit, 21st on Saturday and 13th on Sunday.
Servia spent a majority of the past two seasons with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and was eighth in IndyCar points this season before not racing at Detroit. The Spaniard finished fourth overall in 2011 with Newman/Hass Racing and was the Champ Car championship runner-up in 2005 while driving for both Dale Coyne Racing and Newman/Hass.
“I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” Servia said. “Firstly, it’s a job, but it’s with a team that I’ve been working with very closely with for the last year. Not only do I know everybody that works there, but I know the potential for the National Guard car and the performance we’ve had will give us a chance to win. But I’m especially honored because representing the National Guard is so much more special than any other sponsor.”
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