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Following a little more than a month of speculation since he first tested an IndyCar, Thursday morning in Brazil, KV Racing Technology has confirmed Rubens Barrichello for the full 2012 season. In addition, Barrichello's Brazilian “brother” Tony Kanaan has re-upped with the team for the next two years.
“I am thrilled, it is something very new to me,” Barrichello said. “I need to thank everyone involved, especially Tony because he has been involved for a long time. I would also like to thank my sponsors, BMC, Embrase and Locaweb for their help. This is a new experience, but I am very, very happy. With all my experience I will start as a rookie, but I think I will get better as the year progresses. My main thing is to be an addition to KV Racing Technology. They have been doing very well and Tony brought the team to a different level last year, so I hope with my contribution we can build on this and take the team to another level. I am extremely happy and have a big smile on my face."
The two join E.J. Viso in the three-car team, Barrichello essentially the replacement for Takuma Sato as the final puzzle piece. Barrichello will pilot the No. 8 BMC/Embrase car, while Kanaan's sponsorship program was announced for his No. 11 car with Geico the primary sponsor for 10 races, Mouser Electronics primary for four and associate on the others, and Itaipava again his sponsor at Brazil. Geico and Mouser will be his co-primary sponsors at the Indianapolis 500.
Barrichello's initial test at Sebring got his feet wet, and the first sign he might be looking at IndyCar for an extended period came as he extended his initial two-day test to a third day. The test caught KV team owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser somewhat off guard, only because Kanaan had reached out to Barrichello to have the opportunity.
“It's a dream come true for us,” Kalkhoven said. “I have to thank Tony for his support and loyalty last year, and, I'll thank him for conning Jimmy and I into the test – he offered Rubens the test before he talked to us! I asked Rubens, ‘Why are you driving Tony's car?' But he was P1 of all the teams that were there.”
A second test at Infineon Raceway last weekend was all but the final sign. Initially reported late Tuesday by a Brazilian newspaper that he had the sponsorship money in place, and then followed up by SPEED's Robin Miller, the only remaining stumbling block was convincing his family he'd be fine running the ovals. But with that no longer an issue, the path is clear for Barrichello, a veteran of 19 seasons in Formula 1 to enter IndyCar as a rookie.
The KVRT team tweeted a picture of Barrichello's car, below: