The HVM Racing team will merge with the Andretti Autosports team as part of a co-entry deal to create a single-car IndyCar Series entry under the ‘Team Venezuela’ banner, it has been announced today.
As part of the deal, series veteran EJ Viso will be the driver of the team’s #5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Chevrolet entry.
The 27-year-old is no stranger to the HVM operation, having spent the first two years of his IndyCar Series career with the team before moving on to the KV Racing stable, where he has remained for the past three years.
Undoubtedly quick, Viso has earned a reputation as a rather wild driver with just two top-five finishes (including one podium) in his 85-race career in the IndyCar Series.
The new deal is great use for the Venezuelan, whose future appeared clouded after KV Racing opted to trim its driver line-up to two cars while hiring former HVM driver Simona de Silvestro during the off-season.
Viso will effectively run as a team-mate to the rest of the Andretti drivers who include James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti and reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, giving him access to the outfit’s technical resources, data and debrief sessions.
"I could not ask for more than to get the opportunity to drive for a championship team while representing my country," Viso said in today’s announcement.
"After five years in the series I believe I have found the right environment and look forward to having Ryan, James and Marco as team mates. I’m very proud to be able to move into the 2013 season with this new relationship."
"We are happy to welcome EJ to the team and to again be running four cars," added Andretti Autosports CEO Michael Andretti.
"He has shown speed in his early years as a driver which we view as very promising, and his personality will lend well to the overall chemistry of the drivers and crew."
The deal would not have been possible without the collaboration of the HVM team, which lends its engine lease, Dallara DW12 chassis and funding via its $1 million ‘Leaders Circle’ funding it was awarded this week.