Dreyer & Reinbold Racing confirmed Oriol Servia as its first driver for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season on Tuesday morning. No details were provided on his car number or sponsorship package, but that should be determined shortly while the Lotus factory team is still working on plans for a second car as a teammate.
Servia's 2011 season was his best since switching to the IndyCar ranks from Champ Car in 2008. The Spaniard finished fourth in points – best of those not from Target Chip Ganassi Racing or Team Penske – with three podium finishes and an outside front row starting position at the Indianapolis 500 for Newman/Haas Racing. He also recorded 11 top-10 finishes, completed all but eight of the 2,011 laps, and was running at the finish of each event.
“Before signing with the team, like everybody else, I did my research and I couldn't find one individual who didn't speak highly of Dennis or Robbie, which gave me a lot of confidence,” Servia said. “I went to the team's sponsor summit last week and met all of their partners they have been involved with for many, many years, which was another clear sign that they are good people.”
The Spaniard is eager to begin preseason testing and debut the new DW12 at the first event in St. Petersburg.
“I started on the front row for the Indianapolis 500 and I want to improve on that. I'm at the best point in my career and it was very important to partner with the right team," he said. "When I visited the DRR facility in Indianapolis, I couldn't have been more impressed.”
“I think that Oriol can be a real asset to us and with the development of our partnership with Lotus and the DW12,” said team co-owner Robbie Buhl. “His experience throughout his career will be pivotal in how we develop the new car and new motor.”
“With a new engine, new chassis and a revamped engineering department, we believe it is crucial to have a highly talented veteran driver to be able to develop these new components. Oriol has always been a smart driver and has always put himself and his team in a position to win races. We are going to have to be well prepared to take advantage of his abilities and we look forward to the challenge,” added Dennis Reinbold, Buhl's fellow co-owner.
Servia's journeyman career has not seen him at the same team for the next season since 2008, when he ended the 2007 campaign in two starts with KV Racing and ran the full 2008 season there. He has previously driven for Newman/Haas (three stints), Rahal Letterman Racing, KV (three stints), Forsythe, Dale Coyne Racing, Patrick Racing, PacWest Racing, Sigma Autosport and PPI Motorsports in his career.