Allan Brewer, IndyCar correspondent
Former Newman Haas Racing driver Oriol Servia joined Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in a full-time ride for the 2012 IndyCar Series season today. The fourth-place finisher in the 2011 IndyCar championship points standings recorded an impressive season just past, including an outside-spot-on-the-front-row starting position in the Indianapolis 500 and eleven top-10 finishes.
"I couldn't be more excited," he said. "DRR is a team that I have raced against since 2008 and they're always very professional. In doing my research I couldn't find one individual that didn't speak highly of co-owners Dennis (Reinbold) or Robbie (Buhl), which gave me a lot of confidence to sign with the team."
I couldn't be more excited, for many reasons.
Servia carries with him to the team a reputation in racing circles as an innovative and knowledgeable on-track presence. He is a graduate of the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya with a degree in mechanical engineering.
He will begin pre-season testing with the team immediately in the Dallara DW12 chassis with the Lotus engine package behind him. "I'm at the peak of my career and it was very important to partner with the right team," he continued. "When I visited the DRR facility in Indianapolis, I couldn't have been more impressed. We are starting with a new engine and chassis, and I have confidence in Lotus and our ability to develop a quality product in 2012."
Team co-owner Reinbold responded by saying, "We believe it is crucial to have a highly talented veteran driver to be able to develop a new engine, a new chassis and a revamped engineering department. Oriol has always been a smart driver and has always put himself and his team in a position to win races. We are going to have to be well prepared to take advantage of his abilities and we look forward to the challenge,"
"I think that Oriol can be a real asset to us in the development of the car," added co-owner Buhl. "His experience will be essential in development of the new car and new motor. He had a fantastic season last year and we are excited to have him as a part of our team going forward."
Servia was second in the 2005 Champ Car World Series point standings (including his first career win at Montreal) and won the 1999 Indy Lights championship. Over his term in Champ Car he raced successfully for Forsythe Racing and for PKV Racing. Earlier he earned a seat racing for Dale Coyne Racing, Patrick Racing and Sigma Autosports. His first year at PPI Motorsports was good for runner-up in the CART Rookie of the Year competition.
An avid motocross rider, he received his first off-road motorcycle from his father, Salvadore, when he was 2 years old. From that tender age he progressed into karting and eventually to the Elf La Filiere driver development program and national Formula 3 competition.