Panther DRR confirmed Tuesday that veteran driver Oriol Servia will be returning to the team for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Chevrolet will continue to power the Spaniard's No. 22 car in what will be Servia's second year with the Indianapolis-based team.
After a problematic start with Lotus engines this season, the team switched to Chevrolets at the beginning of May, and scored a fourth-place finish with Servia in the Indianapolis 500. Servia followed up that performance by recording top 5 finishes on the street courses of Detroit and Toronto and the short oval of Milwaukee. He also proved the "pass master" of 2012: Over the course of the season, Servia charged through the field to pass a record 107 cars.
"I am very pleased to partner with DRR again in 2013," said Servia. "We had several great on-track performances this past season, including our fourth-place finish at the Indianapolis 500, but we're not satisfied. Our goal is to win that race and contend week in and week out for wins and podiums at all races. Continuity is very important in our sport and now we'll be able to build upon our successes in a second year together. Off the track, I am extremely excited to continue with DRR as I have found some of the best people I have ever worked within this sport, including our team partners whose support make this all happen."
The strategic alliance between Panther DRR and Panther Racing will also continue, allowing Servia to work with the No. 4 team and driver JR Hildebrand. The partnership was formed in May and created a competitive advantage that provided more resources to each team's effort.
"As an organization, we have worked very hard to be in the position to hire a talented driver whom is an appropriate fit to the personality of our team both in and out of the car," said Dennis Reinbold, co-owner, Panther DRR. "We couldn't be happier to have the continuity of a second year with Oriol in the No. 22 car. We're also excited to see our ongoing increased investment in the technical and engineering areas of our team result in success within our off-season development program and on-track performance next year. "
Added co-owner Robbie Buhl: "Hiring Oriol Servia to drive the No. 22 was a no-brainer. To be able to continue building on-track momentum and a strong working relationship between Oriol and our technical team was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. We believe Oriol gives us the best chance for us to win the Indianapolis 500 and compete for wins. I'd like to personally thank Oriol, Chevy, our team partners and entire organization for their commitment to our team."
Servia and Panther DRR will return to the track for a test at Sebring on Dec. 12-13.