Oriol Servia has signed to lead the Dreyer and Reinbold Racing team in the 2012 IZOD Indycar Series season. The veteran Catalan finished every race in 2011 and his phenomenal level of consistency, with three visits to the podium for the now defunct Newman-Haas team, saw him tie up fourth in points, ahead of the likes of Penske duo Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves, and all four Andretti Autosport cars.
“I couldn’t be more excited, for many reasons. DRR is a team that I raced against since 2008 and they’ve always shown to be very professional at the racetrack,” Servia said.
“Although I knew the owners, I didn’t know them very well, to be honest. Before signing with the team, like everybody else, I did my research and I couldn’t find one individual that didn’t speak highly of Dennis or Robbie, which gave me a lot of confidence.”
“I went to the team’s sponsor summit last week and met all of their partners that they have been involved with for many, many years, which was another clear sign that they are good people.”
Dreyer and Reinbold will be running the Lotus powerplant prepared by John Judd in the back of the new DW12 chassis, and Servia is itching to give it a try.
“I started on the front row for the Indianapolis 500 and I want to improve on that. I’m at the best point in my career and it was very important to partner with the right team. When I visited the DRR facility in Indianapolis, I couldn’t have been more impressed.”
“We are starting with a new engine and chassis, and I have confidence in Lotus and our ability to develop a quality product in 2012. When you have everyone pulling in the same direction like we are now is when we can accomplish our goals.”
Team co-owner Dennis Reinbold was delighted with his new acquisition, and is looking forward to challenging for wins.
“With a new engine, new chassis and a revamped engineering department, we believe it is crucial to have a highly talented veteran driver to be able to develop these new components. Oriol has always been a smart driver and has always put himself and his team in a position to win races. We are going to have to be well prepared to take advantage of his abilities and we look forward to the challenge,” Reinbold commented.
The team has not won a race since 2000, when Robbie Buhl took victory at the Walt Disney Speedway. Buhl, now a team co-owner, believes that Servia can break his Indycar duck, having last won in Champ Car back in 2005 at Montreal and come very close last year at the New Hampshire Speedway.
“I think that Oriol can be a real asset to us and with the development with our partnership with Lotus and the DW12. His experience throughout his career will be pivotal in how we develop the new car and new motor. He had a fantastic season last year with Newman Haas and we are excited to have him as a part of our team going forward.”
Servia will replace the outgoing Justin Wilson, who this week announced his return to Dale Coyne after two years at DRR. Italian Giorgio Pantano is rumoured to be chasing the second seat, while Brazilian lady racer Ana Beatriz, who drove for the team full time last year, is also rumoured to be in contention.