KV Racing Technology set to open 2012 IZOD Indycar Series season

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 20, 2012 – KV Racing Technology will field a three-car effort to contest the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season which begins this weekend, March 23-25, with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

The trio of drivers, which consists of Formula One legend, Rubens Barrichello, IndyCar Superstar, Tony Kanaan and rising young star E. J. Viso is one of, if not the, strongest lineups ever in the 10-year history of KV Racing Technology.

“We had some good testing but now its time to race.

Rubens Barrichello

Barrichello will be competing in his first IndyCar season after spending the last 19 years establishing himself as one of the top drivers in Formula One. He will drive the No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone car.

“I'm very much looking forward to my first ever IndyCar race and can't wait to get to St Pete,” said Barrichello. “We had some good testing but now its time to race. The only thing I know about this track, is what I have seen on TV and it looks very nice indeed. I hope that I can learn the track quickly so I can have a good weekend along with my team mates at KV Racing Technology.”

Kanaan, entering his 15th U. S. based open-wheel season, 11th in the IZOD IndyCar Series and second with KVRT, will pilot the No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone car for 10 races, the MOUSER ELECTRONICS | GEICO KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry at four and the ITAIPAVA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine at Brazil. GEICO and MOUSER ELECTRONICS will be co-primary sponsors at the Indy 500.

"I am very happy to be returning to St. Petersburg for the season-opener again,” Kanaan said. “It's also nice to be back with KV Racing Technology for the second year and with more preparation than this time last year! I have always had great memories here, and I am hoping that this year will not be any different. I would like to thank GEICO and Mouser Electronics as well as my Brazilian sponsors for their support and look forward to being able to give them a great 2012 season."

Viso, who is coming off a victory last weekend in the Prototype Challenge class in the 12 Hours of Sebring, is entering his fifth IZOD IndyCar Series season and third with KV Racing Technology. He will be behind the wheel of the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine.

Tony Kanaan, KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, KV Racing Technology Chevrolet

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

"I am very excited to be heading back to St. Pete, in my backyard of Florida, for the fifth consecutive year,” Viso said. “It's a track that I truly have a connection to. Every time I've been there I've been consistently fast and in a few instances very close to a podium finish. Hopefully the result we get this year will be the one that my team and I are working towards. So far we have found some pretty good improvements to the new car, we believe there are still more adjustments to tweak but as of right now we feel we are in a good position to start the 2012 IndyCar Championship."

Commenting on the upcoming season, KV Racing Technology co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven said, “Less than two months ago Rubens (Barrichello) tested a KV Racing Technology car. At that time I thought we had less than a one percent chance of him driving for us for the season. Now, with Rubens joining Tony Kanaan and E. J. Viso, we have one of the strongest driver lineups in the series. Add Chevrolet power plus a strong organization and I believe we have a team that can take us to the next level.”

Jimmy Vasser, the V in KV Racing Technology, said, “This is going to be a very interesting and exciting season for our sponsors and fans. We have new drivers, new cars, new engines and the field is very competitive. I think the entire KVRT organization, and especially General Manager Mark Johnson, has done an outstanding job of preparing for the start of the season. We have an exceptional lineup of drivers, a very competitive engine in Chevrolet and a great group of engineers and mechanics. Now it’s time to run races and see how we stack up. I am confident we can be winners.”

KVRT General Manager Mark Johnson said, “The entire KV Racing Technology organization is very much looking forward to kicking off the 2012 IZOD IndyCar season in St Petersburg, Florida this week. On one hand it seems the 2011 season just ended and on the other it seems we have been away from racing too long. I am extremely proud of every single individual who makes up this team. I can say that every person in the organization has given a 100% effort in readying ourselves for the upcoming season including our partners at Chevrolet and Pratt and Miller Engineering. It has been a very productive off season developing the new Chevrolet power plant and the Dallara chassis and given where we have ranked at numerous tests, we are excited to finally be officially on track and to be able to see where everyone is with their programs. We are excited about our 2012 driver line-up with Tony (Kanaan) and E.J (Viso) returning to the team and having Rubens (Barrichello) join KVRT has been a very pleasant addition. As an organization we are looking for KV Racing Technology's best season to date.”

EJ Viso, KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
EJ Viso, KV Racing Technology Chevrolet

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Barrichello, 39, is the only driver in Formula One history to make 300 or more starts having contested 322 races (out of 326 entered) over his 19-year career (1993 – 2011). The talented Brazilian, who was runner-up in the Formula One championship in 2002 and 2004, has earned 11 victories, been on the podium 68 times and scored 106 top-five finishes and 171 top-10 showings. Last season, Barrichello competed for Williams – Cosworth in Formula One.

Kanaan, 37, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion and perennial championship contender has 14 IndyCar wins (15 career) with 52 podiums (58 career), 85 top-five showings (101 career) and 111 top-10 performances (159 career) in 149 IndyCar starts (242 career). Kanaan, who holds the IndyCar Series record for consecutive starts at 148, has finished in the top-six in championship every year he has run the full IndyCar season, a total of nine consecutive years. He finished in the fifth in the championship race last year with 367 points, the highest in KVRT team history.

Viso, 27, is one of the most exciting young talents in the series. The outgoing Venezuelan scored four top-10 finishes with a season best seventh place showing in Texas Race No. 2 in 2011. In 67 career starts, Viso has earned 13 top-10 finishes with a career high third place showing on the oval at Iowa in 2010 and a street/road course best of fourth at St. Petersburg in 2008 in just his second IndyCar start.

KV Racing Technology was founded in January 2003 and joined the IndyCar Series in 2008. The Indianapolis based team is owned by successful venture capitalist Kevin Kalkhoven and 1996 IndyCar Champion Jimmy Vasser. Veteran Motorsports manager, Mark Johnson is the team’s General Manager. Johnson is assisted by Team Manager Tom Wurtz, Technical Director Eric Cowdin and Operations Manager Steve Moore.

The 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on ABC beginning at 12:30 p.m. (ET).

Rubens Barrichello, KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
Rubens Barrichello, KV Racing Technology Chevrolet

Photo by: Eric Gilbert