After several deals that have stalled at the eleventh hour, Italy’s Luca Filippi will finally be handed his chance to make his IndyCar Series debut. The former GP2 Series racewinner will drive for Barracuda Racing at this weekend’s Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio in place of Alex Tagliani.
The 27-year-old has been linked with drives in the series for the last two seasons, only for each opportunity to fall through when he hit last minute sponsorship difficulties. Now he has managed to secure enough backing to land a drive in the #98 Honda-powered entry, which Tagliani will vacate for the rest of the year as the team looks to evaluate its driver line-up for the 2014 season.
After a rather promising 2012 season, Tagliani has struggled in 2013 and languishes in 21st place overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings, earning a pair of tenth-placed finishes as his best results of the season.
And with the team’s finances reportedly looking shaky, Tagliani’s form has not proven to be enough to keep him in the cockpit, with Filippi able to buy the Canadian out of this seat for this weekend at least.
“I’m very grateful to the Barracuda Racing team for this great opportunity because this is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” said Filippi, who enjoyed a successful pre-event test at the Mid-Ohio circuit in the lead up to this weekend’s race.
“Obviously I’m a rookie but I’m a racer and I’m competitive. I really want to do well and show that even though I have a different background, I can prove my abilities.”
“Luca did a really good job during the test,” Barracuda Racing team owner Bryan Herta added.
“We were very impressed with his quick adaptation to both a car and circuit that were completely new to him. We are all very excited to see how he does under race conditions.”
It is not yet known if Filippi’s deal will extend into other races over the remainder of the season. Also linked with a possible drive is former Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand.
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