Racin’ News: Andretti Signs Conway For 2011
In Racin’ News today, Feb. 1:
Andretti Autosport announced that it is has signed Englishman Mike Conway to a full-season drive in one of the team’s IZOD IndyCar Series entries for 2011.
Conway, who launched his IZOD IndyCar Series career in 2009, is returning to competition after sustaining serious and season-ending injuries in last year’s Indianapolis 500.
The 27-year old is a veteran of 23 IZOD IndyCar Series events – all with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing –including the full 2009 schedule and the first six races of 2010. Conway scored a career-best third-place finish at Infineon Raceway as a rookie in 2009 and then posted three top-10s in 2010 before being sidelined at Indianapolis.
Conway’s final race of 2010 stands as one of his most-impressive IndyCar efforts thus far. After qualifying 15th, Conway led 15 laps and was running ninth with two laps to go when he was involved in an incident with Ryan Hunter-Reay, who he will now team with at Andretti Autosport.
Conway’s career began at the age of eight at Rye House in Hertfordshire. Since then, he has gone on to be the Formula A British Karting Champion, the Formula Renault Champion (2004) and the top British driver in the British Formula 3 Series, finishing third in the 2005 standings.
In 2006, Conway raced in and dominated the British F3 International Series, winning the championship with three races still remaining. 2006 also saw Conway prevail at the Macau Grand Prix, making him the first British driver to do so since 1999.
Conway moved to the GP2 Series in 2007 and spent the season competing for Super Nova Racing. That same year, he was also signed as a test driver for Honda F1 Racing. In total, Conway logged seven days of F1 testing for Honda and Mercedes-Benz.
2008 saw Conway remain in GP2, but this time he was racing with Trident Racing. At Monaco, he had his first 2008 podium when he took first place in the sprint race – a race which he led from start to finish.
Conway is represented by 2mb Sports Management, a boutique talent management agency owned by former driver Mark Blundell.
“This is a really exciting moment in my career to be racing for Andretti Autosport,” Conway said. “It’s going to be an honor working with some great people and great teammates, and I can’t wait to get started. Everyone is fired up, especially me, and I’m ready for the challenge ahead. I can’t wait to hit the track and start achieving some great results.”
Michael Andretti, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Andretti Autosport, said, “Mike is a great addition to our team, for sure. He is talented, has a lot of potential and should really fit in well with our team here. He was off to a good start last year and had started to show what he is really capable of in the IndyCar Series.
“He’s got great credentials, has raced in some very competitive formulas and is a proven winner. We’re really excited to be able to bring him to Andretti Autosport.”
JaguarRSR announced its plans to run two full-season JaguarRSR XKR GTs in the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
One of the entries will see open-wheel stars Bruno Junqueira and Cristiano Da Matta kick off their GT racing careers on the JaguarRSR full season roster and P.J. Jones has been signed to pilot the second entry and awaits confirmation of his teammate.
Junqueira won the F3000 championship (2000), was a test driver for the Williams Formula One team (1999/2000), finished as the runner up in the Champ Car World Series championship three years in a row (2002 – 2004) and qualified six times in the Indy 500 earning the pole in 2002. Da Matta was the Brazilian Formula Ford champion (1993), the Brazilian Formula 3 champion (1994), Indy Lights champion (1998), the Champ Car World Series champion (2002), and went to make a name for himself in Formula One driving for Toyota.
California-native P.J. Jones returns to the IMSA racing scene after a successful campaign driving for the Toyota factory GTP team. In 1992 he was named the “Most Improved Driver” and in 1993 he captured six poles, three wins – the highlight being the Daytona 24-hour classic. He was runner up in the 1993 Drivers’ Championship and played a role in securing the GTP Manufacturers’ Title for Toyota. In addition to his GTP experience, he finished third in Indy Lights (1991), earned the first PPG Cup points for a Toyota-powered Champ Car (1996), finished second in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals (1996), was a test driver for the Toyota NASCAR program, and has become a road racing specialist for multiple teams in NASCAR.
“We believe that 2011 holds a lot of promise,” said Paul Gentilozzi, JaguarRSR Principal Partner and co-driver. “We have our ‘rookie’ season behind us, and look forward to a more competitive sophomore season with all of the changes and developments that we have made to the program. We have such great talent in our driver lineup, all of these guys will bring a unique perspective and influence to the team.”
The team and its newcomers will be participating in the ALMS Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on February 9-10. General admission tickets to the Winter Test are $10 per day with no paddock admission or overnight camping.
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