Brazilian driver Mario Moraes has inked a deal to drive for Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser's KV Racing Technology team in 2009. A rookie in the truest sense, Moraes completed his debut season last year for Dale Coyne Racing at age 19 and in car No. 19.
Now 20, the series sophomore looks to improve having learned all the tracks, gained valuable experience and acclimated himself to both racing in the U.S. and the Dallara-Honda package.
"We are very excited to have Mario join our team," said Vasser. "Mario is young and extremely talented. He impressed us with his performances on both ovals and road/street circuits last year. We look forward to watching him grow and are confident he will be very competitive during the 2009 season."
In his first year after racing in Formula 3 in South America and Europe for three seasons, Moraes scored three top-ten results with a best finish of 7th at Watkins Glen, and a best start of 10th place in Edmonton.
He also led his first laps at the Indianapolis 500, though that was put down to pit strategy and he eventually finished 18th. Paired with his countryman Bruno Junqueira, Dale Coyne Racing was an all-Brazilian affair in 2008.
"I want to thank Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser for this opportunity," Moraes said. "I think KV Racing Technology provides me with the best opportunity to develop as a driver and advance my racing career. I am really looking forward to working with the entire KVRT organization in 2009."
As KV Racing plans to run a two-car team in 2009 it is apparent that either Oriol Servia or Will Power, if not both, will be looking for new work in the new year. Servia led the so-called "transition drivers" in the points standings last season in 9th overall, with five top-five finishes. Power won Champ Car's sendoff at Long Beach and otherwise scored a best finish of 4th at Mid-Ohio aboard the Dallara.
The move ends a relative dry spell of news trickling out of the IndyCar Series, with more driver signings expected within the next couple weeks. The series' first race kicks off on April 5 at St. Petersburg, FL.