Luca Filippi has finalized his deal to move to the IZOD IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and will make his debut at the Indianapolis 500. Last year's GP2 runner-up was unable to firm up the drive in time for the first part of the season, but will join the field for the series' most prestigious race.
"Being a racing driver and a big motorsport fan, too, it's amazing to have such a legend as Bobby Rahal as team owner," said Filippi. "I'm sure he will help me a lot with my IndyCar experience and help me learn all the different dynamics that I will find in my very first American open-wheel racing season quickly."
Filippi finished second in both GP2 and Auto GP last season, shooting up the GP2 standings following a midyear switch from Super Nova to Coloni. The 26-year-old Italian native scored six wins during six years in GP2/GP2 Asia, and also has Formula 1 testing experience with Minardi and Honda.
Team boss Bobby Rahal said Filippi, who will join Takuma Sato in the RLLR lineup, had impressed him on and off track.
"Having followed GP2 the last several years, I have watched Luca's progress with interest," said Rahal. "Despite not always having the best equipment, it was clear he had the ability to not only run competitively but to also win races. Having gotten to know him over the last eight months, he has also shown that in addition to being able to win, he would represent Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in a first-class manner."
Filippi believes this is an ideal year to move to IndyCar as the new DW12 car will be unfamiliar to everyone.
"This year everything is going to change for everybody in the series because of the new car and I think it is the best moment for a rookie to enter the championship," he said.