RLR/Andersen Racing Signs Hildebrand To Join Prendeville for 2008 Indy Pro Series PALMETTO, Fla., March 5 - RLR/Andersen Racing is pleased to announce that J.R. Hildebrand, the 2006 Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 champion, will drive its No. 25...
RLR/Andersen Racing Signs Hildebrand To Join Prendeville for 2008 Indy Pro Series
PALMETTO, Fla., March 5 - RLR/Andersen Racing is pleased to announce that J.R. Hildebrand, the 2006 Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 champion, will drive its No. 25 Indy Pro Series car this season.
Hildebrand, 20, a native of Sausalito, Calif. who resides in Indianapolis, joins Andrew Prendeville of Las Vegas as RLR/Andersen Racing's two Indy Pro Series drivers for the 16-race season. The Palmetto, Fla.-based team also fields multiple cars in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and the F2000 Championship presented by Hoosier Racing Tire.
With the announcement, Hildebrand is reunited with engineers Dominic and Nicholas Cape, who guided him to his F2000 championship in 2006 before becoming RLR/Andersen Racing's chief Indy Pro Series engineers in 2007. Hildebrand and the Cape brothers had a phenomenal year in 2006, winning a record 12 of 14 F2000 races enroute to the title. They also set the record for the most consecutive victories in a season with seven; the most laps led in a season; and the most poles in a season.
Hildebrand drove for Newman Wachs Racing in the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic series, finishing seventh overall as the top American rookie. His best finish was second at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland in June.
Hildebrand also drove in the Indy Pro Series doubleheader at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. with RLR/Andersen Racing last August. He suffered a wrist injury on lap two of the first race that spoiled his chances for good results there, but he was very competitive in practice and qualifying. He passed his Indy Pro Series rookie test with another team last month in Nashville, Tenn.
Hildebrand is a former winner of the prestigious Team USA Scholarship program, finishing third overall in the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Cup in 2005 in Europe. He was second overall and Rookie of the Year in the Pacific F2000 Zetec Formula Ford series in 2005. He earned the championship in the SCCA Formula Russell series in 2004.
Hildebrand has been accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, although he's currently on a deferral with that institution while he pursues his racing career. He was graduated a semester early from Redwood High School in Corte Madera, Calif., in December 2005 as a National Merit Scholar with a 4.12 grade point average.
J.R. Hildebrand: "I can't begin to express how excited I am to be racing for RLR/Andersen Racing this year in the Indy Pro Series. Dan and John [Andersen Racing co-owners Dan and John Andersen] have given me a great opportunity and have been fantastic in working everything out. Reuniting with Dominic and Nicholas Cape, who I won the Formula Ford 2000 Championship with, is going to be a real treat.
"I have raced at Mid-Ohio and Infineon Raceway before, but nowhere else on the schedule as of right now. However, I honestly think that we will be extremely competitive everywhere we go. With my road-course background I think that we will be particularly fast at places like St. Pete, Mid-Ohio and Infineon, but I predict we will be quite fast every weekend no matter where it is.
"I'm ready to put my head down and come out swinging. I think it's going to be a great year. I have no doubt that we will immediately assert ourselves as championship contenders."
Dan Andersen (Andersen Racing co-owner): "J.R. proved from the very first session at Infineon last season that he can drive these cars, and now that he has passed his Indy Pro Series rookie test with flying colors, I am truly excited about what 2008 will bring."
John Andersen (Andersen Racing co-owner/Indy Pro Series team manager): "I've known J.R. and his family for almost three years. I think he's a very talented driver; he showed that talent at Infineon last year. Before that, I watched him in 2006 when he won the Cooper Tires F2000 Championship, and I was the director of competition for that series. The Capes worked with him that year, and they all got along very well and were very successful. He seems to work extraordinarily well with both Dominic and Nicholas Cape.
"I've been impressed with J.R.'s ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions. He's very calm and very analytical. He's well adapted to going to a track and knowing what he needs to go fast there, and then coming up with solutions with his engineers.
"He's a very well-spoken and well-dressed young man who presents a good image for both himself and his team. He's very personable and PR-savvy."
Bobby Rahal (co-owner, Rahal Letterman Racing): "I am very pleased Dan and John Andersen were able to bring J.R. into the team. J.R. has shown his competitiveness over the last several years, including his Indy Pro Series debut at Infineon. With J.R. and Andrew I think the chemistry in the team will be positive, and it will ensure that Andersen Racing is a potential race winner every time out."
Scott Roembke (chief operating officer, Rahal Letterman Racing): "J.R. Hildebrand is a very promising talent, and we are very excited about watching what he can do in the Indy Pro Series in 2008. He has had great success to this point despite his young age, and we are sure that Andersen Racing will give him everything he needs to show his talents at this level."