Andretti Autosport will field a team in the 2011 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear for its protégé Sage Karam, the team announced Monday. Comfort Revolution, a mattress manufacturer, has signed on as the primary sponsor for the entry. Karam, a 15-year-old native of Nazareth, Pa. – hometown of the Andretti family – won the 2010 USF2000 driver championship with Andretti Autosport, scoring nine victories in 12 starts during the season.
"Sage did a great job in 2010 and really showed us what he is capable of," said team boss Michael Andretti, chairman. "I'm glad we can continue to bring him through the ranks of the 'Road to Indy' program. This takes us one step closer to developing a driver all the way through to the IZOD IndyCar Series. I'm looking forward to seeing what Sage can accomplish next season."
"I developed a lot of close relationships with the Andretti Autosport team members last year; it's like a family," said Karam. "I've always sensed the team's dedication and desire to win. Performing for them and never letting them down were always priorities of mine. Driving for Andretti Autosport is special for me. Growing up in Nazareth, Mario, Michael and Marco have always been heroes to me. So every time I strap in the Andretti car, it's very special to me."
As the USF2000 National Championship winner, Karam received a sponsorship package from Mazda valued at $350,000 to help him advance to the Star Mazda series in 2011 as part of the "Road to Indy" program.
"I believe in the 'Road to Indy' program, and I know that the team does, too," Karam said. "It's an exciting time to be a part of IndyCar and the Andretti Autosport family."
Andretti Autosport's entry into Star Mazda gives the team entries in each level of IndyCar's Road to Indy development program, which includes the USF2000 National Championship, Star Mazda, Firestone Indy Lights and the IZOD IndyCar Series.