INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 17, 2003 -- European Formula 3000 veteran Marco Cioci will drive the No.6 Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry in the inaugural IRL Infiniti Pro Series Freedom 100 May 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cioci, from Rome, will test with the team during the Infiniti Pro Series Open Test April 18 at IMS.

"This is just fantastic," said Cioci, 27. "My dream is to race in America and in the Indianapolis 500. This is the next step toward that dream. When I did my IRL test in December, I just knew I wanted to come back to America to race. I'm really excited and ready to get in the car with the great team of Sam Schmidt."

Cioci passed the speed phase of his Indy Racing League rookie test with Sam Schmidt Motorsports last December at Texas Motor Speedway, with a top speed of 216.08 mph.

"Marco was certainly impressive in his IRL rookie test," said Schmidt. "I'm happy we were able to put this deal together, and I'm really looking forward to seeing him test with the other guys. He has worked hard to put this program together for this historic race, and he'll be a great addition to round out our three-car entry."