[Source: Andretti Autosport press release]
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 6, 2012) – AFS Racing has become the co-entrant and primary sponsor of Andretti Autosport’s No. 27 Firestone Indy Lights entry, which will be driven by series veteran Sebastian Saavedra. The 21-year-old will also pilot the Andretti Autosport/AFS Racing No. 25 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Chevrolet in the 2012 Indianapolis 500 and potentially two to three other IZOD IndyCar events.
The Columbian native will be the official test and reserve driver for Andretti Autosport’s three full-time IZOD IndyCar Series entries. The opportunity will offer valuable IndyCar seat time for Saavedra, aiding in strengthening his career.
Saavedra finished third in the championship and was awarded Rookie of the Year honors during the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season while driving for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport. He made his IZOD IndyCar Series debut with Bryan Herta Autosport at the 2010 Indianapolis 500, and ran a partial IndyCar season with Conquest Racing in 2011.
The AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport pairing has enjoyed success together in the past, having won two Firestone Indy Lights championships in 2008 (Raphael Matos) and 2009 (JR Hildebrand). AFS/Andretti also joined forces in 2009 and 2010 with IZOD IndyCar Series entries piloted by Franck Montagny and Adam Carroll respectively.
For more information, please visit www.afsracing.com and www.andrettiautosport.com.
GARY PETERSON, OWNER, AFS RACING:
“Aligning with Andretti Autosport for Firestone Indy Lights and the Indianapolis 500 is advantageous for all parties, AFS, Andretti and especially Sebastian. After AFS/Andretti’s previous success in the Firestone Indy Series, having won two season championships, I’m convinced that we can place Sebastian exactly where he needs to be to contend for the FIL championship this season. Since meeting Sebastian and the Saavedra family in 2009, we’ve developed a close relationship. I feel personally invested in Sebastian’s future. I feel that the best career move Sebastian can make at this time, given the new IndyCars, is acting as a test driver for Andretti and racing the Indy 500 this season. This puts him in the best possible position to advance toward his goal of becoming one of IndyCar’s elite drivers. Sebastian is a talented young driver with a very promising future and we (AFS and Andretti) look forward to continuing with him as he advances.”
MICHAEL ANDRETTI, CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT:
“AFS Racing and Andretti Autosport have enjoyed a lot of success together and this effort will hopefully be more of the same. Sebastian will be a strong contender in the Firestone Indy Lights program. Also, with the new car, having a test driver will help us take our IZOD IndyCar Series program closer to where we want it to be. We are optimistic about this relationship and will continue to explore opportunities with the goal of racing together beyond 2012.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, DRIVER, AFS RACING/ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CO-ENTRY:
“I’m proud to be to be part of the AFS and Andretti Autosport family again. Together we’ve have had good times and I’m sure we can have them again. I want to thank Gary (Peterson) for believing in my talent and building this program; he is always thinking of my future and the future of AFS Racing. This opportunity was built in a very intelligent manner and I’m looking forward to where it may take us. The experience I’ve built in the IndyCar Series and in Firestone Indy Lights over the past three years have given me a confidence and big hunger for success. Being appointed as the test and reserve driver for Michael’s (Andretti) IndyCar team is something I’m also very excited about and I want to thank him for that opportunity. I can’t wait the season to start!”