Servia To Drive For Panther At Texas & Iowa
INDIANAPOLIS — Panther Racing announced Oriol Servia will drive the team’s No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet in Saturday’s IZOD IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway and the June 23 event at Iowa Speedway.
Servia, who has worked directly with Panther through the team’s technical alliance with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the past year, was available after Dreyer & Reinbold Racing elected to not continue its No. 22 car effort after last month’s Indianapolis 500.
“Oriol has been part of our extended family for over a year now, so this will be a seamless transition for the National Guard team,” Panther Managing Partner John Barnes said. “We know what Oriol is capable of, and our team is always happy to add a driver that can contend at any circuit on the IndyCar schedule. We’re also excited to get him more integrated with the National Guard, as he’s a perfect fit for their recruitment efforts in lots of diverse markets across the country.”
Servia spent a majority of the past two seasons with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and was eighth in this year’s IndyCar Series championship before missing last weekend’s double-header in Detroit. The Spaniard finished fourth overall in the championship in 2011 with Newman/Hass Racing and was championship runner-up for the Champ Car title crown in 2005while driving for both Dale Coyne Racing and Newman/Hass.
Servia has made 179 starts during an open-wheel career that includes 50 Top Five and 96 Top Tenfinishes, a front-row start in the 2011 Indy 500 and a race win at Montreal in 2005.
“I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” Servia said. “Firstly, it’s a job, but it’s with a team that I’ve been working with very closely with for the last year. Not only do I know everybody that works there, but I know the potential for the National Guard car and the performance we’ve had will give us a chance to win. But I’m especially honored because representing the National Guard is so much more special than any other sponsor, and I’m excited to be a part of everything that partnership involves with the team.”
Panther is not expected to name a full-time replacement in the No. 4 car this season after the team announced the mutual termination of JR Hildebrand’s contract last week. Former Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe drove for the team during last weekend’s Chevrolet Duel, and is under consideration to compete in additional IndyCar Series races this year that do not conflict with his prior racing commitments.
“The biggest thing we want to accomplish the rest of this season is having a clear direction on who will be the driver of the No. 4 car in 2014,” Barnes said. “We’re going to take full advantage of the opening we have here to determine what is in the best interest of the National Guard and Panther Racing’s long-term future. With limited off-season testing this is a great chance for us to get familiar with several drivers in a true race weekend scenario. We think the world of Servia, and we couldn’t have been happier with Ryan Briscoe last weekend in Detroit, but there may be a few others who will have a run in our car before the season ends.”