Giorgio Pantano will make his sixth career IndyCar start this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, again called in as a substitute after his prior appearances in 2005 and 2011.
Pantano fills in for the injured Charlie Kimball at Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, who fractured a fifth metacarpal in his right hand in a testing accident last week.
“I'm very disappointed to miss out on the Mid-Ohio race weekend,” said Kimball. “We had such a good race there last year and I was really looking forward to another shot at the podium. We're lucky to have Giorgio in the seat of the No. 83 car while I'm healing up, and I'll be there this weekend to help him and the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team.
"Even though I won't be in the cockpit, I will do everything I can to drive the whole No. 83 car program forward for this season and the future. I have to thank Novo Nordisk and the whole Chip Ganassi Racing team for being supportive this past week.”
“Not having Charlie drive at Mid-Ohio is very disappointing,” said CGR managing director Mike Hull. “Since IndyCar has the best medical resource in motorsports, his recovery will be swift. His performance over the past few weeks has been impressive with increased momentum, so our expectation is that he will be back at full-strength quickly. We're fortunate to have Giorgio Pantano available as the 83 car driver at Mid-Ohio. His impressive global résumé fits well with the natural terrain road track of Mid-Ohio. To have a quality driver, who has won the GP2 Championship against the best and blends into the team concept is hard to find on short notice. We're extremely lucky to have Giorgio on-board.”
This marks Pantano's second stint with CGR, having also run the road course races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen in 2005. At Watkins Glen, he scored his career best finish of fourth.
“It's a tremendous opportunity to be rejoining Chip Ganassi Racing and the IZOD IndyCar Series this weekend at Mid-Ohio," said the Italian, rwho aced in the GP2 Series from its inaugural year in 2005 until winning that championship in 2008. "You never want to have something happen to another driver and I wish Charlie a quick recovery. Nonetheless, the opportunity is here and I am looking forward to working with the team again and making the best of it.”
Pantano drove three races for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing as Justin Wilson's injury replacement last season, at Sonoma, Baltimore and Motegi, Japan. He had finished sixth at Sonoma but was penalized 10 positions after the race for blocking. He also set the fastest race lap at Motegi.