Takuma Sato will return to racing in the IndyCar Series this year after completing a deal with KV Racing.
The former Formula 1 driver has been on the sidelines since his Super Aguri team folded in mid-2008. He has long been linked with an IndyCar move and visited last year's Indianapolis 500, although he wanted to exhaust any potential options for an F1 comeback before switching his full attention to opportunities in America.
"This is a very exciting time for me and all my supporters," said Sato. "I have really missed racing last year and can't wait to get started in this new challenge with such a great team."
The 33-year-old Japanese driver contested 92 grands prix for Jordan, BAR and Super Aguri between 2002 and 2008, with his third place in the 2004 United States GP his best F1 result. He is confident that he can be an immediate front runner with Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven's team.
"To me, KV Racing Technology is a team with massive potential and great team spirit," Sato said. "With such a great champion as Jimmy leading the team, I am really confident that we will soon be a strong combination.
"I am also really motivated by the chance to be fighting at the front of the field, something I have missed in recent seasons. I want to thank sincerely everyone who has continued to support me through difficult times and look forward to enjoying success together very soon."
Sato tested for KV at Sebring earlier this week and, although he currently has no oval experience, Vasser expects him to rapidly get up to speed.
"We are very excited to have been able to put this deal together with Takuma and his group," said Vasser. "I can't wait to see what I know will be an extremely fast pace by Taku on the road courses and look forward to working with him and getting him up to speed on the ovals. I have no doubt that Taku will be right on the pace immediately. Taku's knowledge and experience will be a great asset and his great sense of humor and easy manner will add positive energy to our team."
KV was a race winner in Champ Car and has been a regular top-10 contender since joining the IndyCar Series, although Mario Moraes' third place at Chicagoland last year is its only podium in the championship to date.
The team also ran former HVM driver E.J. Viso at Sebring this week, and could return to a two-car lineup for 2010 after only running Moraes for a full campaign last year. KV is also expected to field Paul Tracy in a limited program again.