Canadian motorsport fans can finally rejoice with the news that the extremely talented James Hinchcliffe has finally secured a full-time IndyCar drive, signing with Newman/Haas Racing for the remainder of the 2011 season.
The 24-year-old had enjoyed several test outings with the team during the winter off-season, but was unable to join the team for the opening round at St Petersburg as he had been unable to secure enough funding at the time.
However, it would seem that all is well on the finance front, meaning he will now make his long-awaited IndyCar debut at Barber Motorsport Park this weekend.
After a promising junior career, Hinchcliffe made his ChampCar Atlantic debut in 2006 with Forsythe Racing, winning in his debut season with an impressive drive at Portland, as well as securing two other podium finishes. As well as representing his homeland in the now-defunct A1GP championship, Hinchcliffe has been a regular in the Atlantic and Lights series’ taking the runner-up position in the championship last year to Jean-Karl Vernay.
Hinchcliffe has also dabbled in race commentary, where he was a popular ‘colour commentator’ alongside Jeremy Shaw in the ChampCar commentary box.
His sponsorship for his IndyCar drive will come from Eric Sprott and Sprott Inc., a Toronto-based asset management firm.
“Finally making my IndyCar debut really is a dream come true and the end of a 15-year journey getting me to this point,” a relieved Hinchcliffe is quoted as saying with the announcement.
“Having the support from a prominent Canadian company as I start this next step in my career is extra special. I can’t thank Eric Sprott and Sprott Inc. enough for their commitment and I’m sure we can do Canadian sport proud!”
“We are pleased to add James to our team,” added team co-founder Carl Haas. “He impressed us with how quickly he acclimated himself to the demands of driving an Indy car last December and showed he is more than talented enough to compete at this level since then.”
[Original image via IZOD IndyCar Series]