The Dragon Racing team will be running a Sébastien and a Sebastián in its driver line-up for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series, after signing promising Colombian racer Sebastián Saavedra to partner four-time CART champion Sébastien Bourdais for the upcoming season.
Saavedra will pilot the team’s #6 Chevrolet-powered TRUECAR-sponsored entry driven by British driver Katherine Legge in 2012.
The 22-year-old Bogotá-born driver will step up to full-time IndyCar competition after three part-seasons. He made his IndyCar debut with Bryan Herta Autosports, and followed this up with a near full-time campaign with Conquest Racing in 2011, before landing three race outings for the Andretti Autosports team while also dovetailing this with a full-time Firestone Indy Lights campaign in 2012.
Having spent last year as the Andretti team’s reserve driver, Saavedra now has the opportunity to step back into the top flight and find himself paired alongside Bourdais, still considered one of the greatest road course racers of his generation.
“I’m extremely excited on this new chapter in my life, and very thankful to everyone who made it a reality. Together with TRUECAR, Sébastien (Bourdais), [it] makes me a strong believer in Dragon Racing’s future, and our ability to win championships together.
“I want to sincerely thank TrueCar and Dragon Racing for giving me this opportunity and all my Colombian supporters; Coldeportes, Marca Pais, Autoniza, Postobon, Seringel and Sumimed, who have supported me since the beginning.”
Team owner Jay Penske was thrilled with his new signing.
“We are very excited to have Sebastián join Dragon Racing for 2013 and beyond,” he said. “I have been watching Sebastián’s rapid progression through the various series’ and I truly believe he is the perfect teammate for Bourdais. I look forward to seeing the results of their collaboration, and seeing them both on the podium many times this year.”
Ironically for Bourdais – or coincidentally, depending on your perspective – this will be the third different team-mate he’ll race alongside who shares his first name (or a derivative of it). In 2008, he was paired alongside Sebastian Vettel at Scuderia Toro Rosso, followed by being teamed up with Swiss racer Sébastien Buemi in 2009.
Saavedra’s signing also means that Legge is now on the IndyCar driver market, and will competing for the few remaining seats alongside the likes of former Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe.