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Newman-Haas Racing Press Release
---Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) announced today that Canadian James Hinchcliffe will drive for the team in the North American events of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season including his debut in the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 and events in his hometown of Toronto as well as Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Mr. Eric Sprott and Sprott Inc., a leading independent asset manager based in Toronto, will be the primary sponsor of Hinchcliffe’s entry.
“Finally making my IndyCar debut really is a dream come true and the end of a 15-year journey getting me to this point,” said James Hinchcliffe, 24, who will make his series debut at this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in Birmingham, Ala. “Having the support from a prominent Canadian company as I start this next step in my career is extra special. I can't thank Eric Sprott and Sprott Inc. enough for their commitment and I'm sure we can do Canadian sport proud!”
Sprott Inc., founded by Eric Sprott, currently operates through four business units: Sprott Asset Management L.P., Sprott Private Wealth L.P., Sprott Consulting L.P. and Sprott U.S. Holdings Inc. It is their first sponsorship in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
“As a Canadian-based company it’s naturally exciting to support one of Canada’s next generation motorsport talents,” said Eric Sprott. “James (Hinchcliffe) has an excellent pedigree and we’re confident that his record of success will continue in the IndyCar Series. Everyone at Sprott Inc. shares the competitive spirit and drive of both Newman/Haas Racing and James.”
Toronto native Hinchcliffe finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after wins in Long Beach, Edmonton and Chicagoland and poles in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Watkins Glen and Edmonton. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races. Hinchcliffe progressed through the ranks of the Rotax (2002), F2000 (2003), Formula BMW (2004), Star Mazda (2005), and Atlantic series (2006-2008) before joining the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2009. He also competed in a season of A1GP competition (2007). Hinchcliffe completed four successful days of testing in Sebring, Fla. in December 2010 and January 2011 and two days at Barber Motorsports Park in March where he set the seventh fastest time overall.
“We are pleased to add James to our team,” said Carl Haas, founder of Newman/Haas Racing. “He impressed us with how quickly he acclimated himself to the demands of driving an Indy car last December and showed he is more than talented enough to compete at this level since then. In our previous 28 seasons, only three rookies have driven for the team and those were Nigel (Mansell; reigning Formula One champion), Sebastien (Bourdais; reigning F3000 champion) and Graham (Rahal), and all made their mark. Canada has produced many great drivers and we are looking forward to partnering with Sprott Inc., to help James make his own mark.”
“I used to think that driving for Newman/Haas Racing at some point in my career would be amazing, but to get to do it in my rookie season is beyond words,” added Hinchcliffe. “I am only the third true rookie to drive for the team and I think that says a lot about the relationship we have forged over the last few months. It was tough to miss Round 1, but getting to debut in Barber makes me feel really comfortable since we have already tested there. As anxious as I am to get that first race under my belt, I am already looking forward to my first month of May and, of course, the races in Canada. I hope this is the first of many years for me at this level and I'm going to give everything I've got to make the Canadian fans proud!”
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Round 2 in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series will take place April 8-10 at Barber Motorsports Park (BMP). NHR set the fifth and seventh fastest times at the open test at BMP March 14-15 with Oriol Servia, driver of the Telemundo entry, and Hinchcliffe, respectively.