Series news and notes 2011-01-24

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. HVM, de Silvestro get sponsorship from Entergy Nuclear
2. Hinchcliffe picks up award from Canadian race fans
3. Safety improvements coming to Toronto race course

1. HVM, de Silvestro get sponsorship from Entergy Nuclear: The successful IZOD IndyCar Series rookie campaign of Simona de Silvestro is starting to bear fruit for 2011.

HVM Racing and Entergy Nuclear announced that they have entered into a three-year partnership for primary sponsorship in the IZOD INDYCAR Series and de Silvestro, the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.

"It's a really special feeling, and I'm excited for 2011," De Silvestro said. "It's the first time in my career that I know I will be able to race not only this year, but for the next couple of years. We have a great partnership with Entergy and I'm glad they are coming aboard. Hopefully we can bring the awareness of Nuclear Clean Energy and promote clean, low-cost and reliable nuclear energy."

Keith Wiggins, team owner of HVM Racing and John Herron, President, CEO and Chief Nuclear Officer at Entergy unveiled the livery of the No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy Dallara at the InterContinetal hotel in downtown Baltimore. De Silvestro then got some extra pit stop practice on a portion of the circuit that will play host to the Baltimore Grand Prix in September.

"This is great news for HVM and for Simona," Wiggins said. "It gives Simona a long-term opportunity to develop into a top IndyCar driver while the team will have a stable platform over multiple years to support our championship effort. It is a terrific marketing opportunity with a strong partner who has an important message and role in our world's future. We are going to make an impact on many fronts; within the nuclear energy industry, with Simona as an individual driver and within our sport overall."

Entergy is in its fourth year of the "Nuclear Clean Air Energy" national education campaign and got its first exposure to the IZOD IndyCar Series with HVM Racing at the 2010 Indianapolis 500.

Having reached millions of people at the racetrack, across U.S. college campuses and in community events, the goal of the Nuclear Clean Air Energy initiative is to use the platform of the IZOD IndyCar Series to spread the message about the benefits of nuclear energy as a source of carbon-free electricity. In addition to the element of education and public awareness, this campaign assists in recruiting quality engineers and professionals to the nuclear energy sector, an exciting job-growth industry.

"It is an important time for our country to hear our nuclear clean air energy story," Herron said. "With Simona as a lead spokesperson for our effort, teaming up with HVM and IndyCar brings visibility to the issue of U.S. energy policy, with multiple national opportunities to reach out to families and fans. Education is key to smarter energy consumers and doing so with a young role model like Simona couldn't be better. Having 'nuclear' on the side of a race car is as all-American as racing itself, since nuclear energy generates 20 percent of all U.S. electricity already. Entergy wants everyone to learn more and get excited about our reliable, green source of electricity."

The sponsorship will be a reunion of sorts for Entergy and de Silvestro. The company sponsored the native of Thun, Switzerland, when she won her first Atlantic race in 2008 and was on her car when she was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year last season. She hopes to add another milestone in 2011 in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

"I was Entergy's first brand ambassador in 2008 and I won my first Atlantics race that year," she said. "Their first IndyCar sponsorship was with me at Indy and I was Rookie of the Year. We've had a really good start, hopefully it can continue. Now that they are full time, hopefully we can add more memories."

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2. Hinchcliffe picks up award from Canadian race fans: James Hinchcliffe, who tested a Newman/Haas Racing car for the second time late last week at Sebring International Raceway, was named Canadian Racer of the Year on Jan. 22 as voted by readers of Inside Track Motorsport News.

Hinchcliffe, 24, of Toronto, was the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights championship runner-up for Team Moore Racing. He recorded three victories, four pole starts and 10 top-five finished in 13 races.

"It's obviously a huge honor and if I'm being honest also a little bit of a shock as you don't tend to think of yourself in that light," he said. "At the same time, knowing that Canada's got some of the best, most passionate open-wheel racing fans, to be recognized by them is quite the honor. A huge thanks goes out to Inside Track for holding these awards every year and of course to all the readers and fans that took the time to vote, it means a lot."

Hinchcliffe recorded 130 laps in IZOD IndyCar Series car on the 1.56-mile Sebring International circuit.

"We had another solid couple of days down in Florida," he said. "Part of it was furthering my development and getting me as up to speed and prepared for the start of the IndyCar season with the intention of being there. We continued to work on developing the car and the team wanted to try and few more things out.

"I think it says a lot about the team's belief in me that they entrusted me behind the wheel to test them. Overall, it was very successful and I've left with even more knowledge of an IndyCar. I think the team was happy and that's ultimately my goal as I'd certainly like them to keep me in the car."

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3. Safety improvements coming to Toronto race course: Green Savoree Toronto has rolled out a major investment campaign for the Honda Indy Toronto race course that includes new track infrastructure. The campaign, which includes new block and fencing, has received financial support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and will be 40 percent complete at the end of the month.

"Safety for drivers, teams and race fans is our top priority, "said Kevin Savoree, co-owner of Green Savoree Toronto, ULC. "This investment, which coincides with the 25th year of racing on the streets of Toronto, is essential to ensuring that we remain among the top venues in international motorsport."

The Canadian government, through the Southern Ontario Development Program, committed up to $772,000 specifically for the track enhancement project. The walls and fencing of the track will be redesigned to meet FIA specifications for height, thickness and weight, leading to a safer environment for drivers, fans and race officials as well as to the protection of jobs in the region.

"From a track and site perspective, the enhancements made by Green Savoree Toronto help elevate the Honda Indy Toronto to a new level that is in line with the world's top motorsports events," said Roger Peart, president of ASN Canada FIA and the person responsible for inspecting the project. "The Honda Indy Toronto is one of the most popular events in Canadian motorsport. We are grateful to the government for making funding available and to the owners for their investment in the future of the race."

-source: indycar

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