The Sam Schmidt Motorsports team is on the verge of announcing that it will expand its operation for the upcoming IndyCar season, with occasional IndyCar racer Davey Hamilton set to bring investment from long-term sponsor Hewlett Packard to help the team expand to a two-car operation.
Hamilton currently runs his own team in the Indy Lights championship as well as being a part-time racer in the IndyCar Series in recent years. More recently, it has been reported that the American was keen to have a more active role on the pit-wall.
It was rumoured that Hamilton was considering bringing his eponymous team into the IndyCar Series, but that he has now elected to join forces with Schmidt and assume a managerial role in the team.
The deal could see Hewlett Packard assume a major sponsorship presence on a second Schmidt entry, while newly-signed driver Simon Pagenaud will drive the #77 Bowers & Wilkins-sponsored car. A host of drivers could then drive the second car and bring further sponsorship income to the team to help fund their drives.
Last year, Sam Schmidt Motorsports was able to run second drivers at occasional rounds, with British driver Martin Plowman, New Zealand’s Wade Cunningham and Japan’s Hideki Mutoh.
It is believed that Plowman – who raced for SSM three times last year – is the lead candidate to make the jump into this second seat.
While team owner Sam Schmidt would not confirm the exact details of a SSM/Hamilton merger, he did indicate that a second car was close to being confirmed.
“We’re painting cars as we speak,” he told SPEED.com. “I can’t say more than that on who those sponsors are or any other affiliation.
“I’m not going to compromise the first program with Simon just to get a second car done, so our internal clock is looking at the 15th [of February] as the date we need to make things happen.”
Our IndyCars Correspondent Matt Lennon is currently on leave.