Bryan Herta Autosport has announced that former IndyCar champion Dan Wheldon will race for the team in the Indianapolis 500.
Wheldon parted company with Panther Racing at the end of last season and does not currently have a full-time drive. He and Herta were teammates at what was then Andretti Green Racing from 2003 to 2005, with Wheldon winning the Indy 500 and series title in the last of those seasons.
Herta initially established his team as an Indy Lights operation, but always had an eye on graduating to IndyCar, entering a car for Sebastian Saavedra in last year's Indy 500. He described the signing of Wheldon as an enormous moment for his team.
"It represents a tremendous step forward for our program," said Herta. "When [Partner] Steve [Newey] and I decided to grow our team, we started very organically with a one-car Indy Lights operation and our ultimate goal is to be one of the leading teams in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Getting Dan on board is a tremendous statement of our seriousness in that regard, and also a tremendous show of faith from a good friend of mine who has shown what he can do at the Indianapolis 500."
Wheldon sees no reason he cannot be a frontrunner at Indy with Herta.
"Going into the month of May, I think we stand in a very good position," he said. "At this point, I won't be a full-time IndyCar participant this season, but I don't think we will be at a disadvantage having not raced in the first four races of the season because they are not on ovals; they are running on road and street courses.
"We will have plenty of preparation time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and paired with the fact that Honda always supplies us with reliable engines, I think we'll be able to hit the ground running. I'm really excited about this opportunity and can't wait to get to Indy."