By Frank Santoroski, Staff Writer
With the uncertainly surrounding the domed skid issue for Indianapolis, team-owner Sam Schmidt stated publicly that getting a veteran driver in his car may be the best course of action.
Although names like Brian Vickers and Gabby Chaves were rumored, Schmidt ultimately went with experience, confirming 41 year-old Oriol Servia for his third car at the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Servia has 198 starts between CART, ChampCar and the IndyCar Series, including seven previous Indianapolis starts. The effort with Schmidt-Peterson will be run in conjunction with Mariotti Racing.
“This year’s Indianapolis 500, the 100th running, will be the most special in our era, maybe of all time”, said Servia. “I wanted to make sure I was in a team that can give me a program to contend for the win. I have no doubt that together with SPM and Honda, we will at least do that.”
“We’ve competed against Oriol for several years now and have always looked for an opportunity to get him in one of our SPM entries,” said Sam Schmidt. “He is a true professional and is highly respected within the motorsports community. Interestingly enough, we shared the front row with him in 2011 and know that he can get the job done for all of our team partners.”
Servia will run the #77 car, and will be teamed with SPM’s two full-time drivers, James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin.
The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to take place May 29, 2016.
Image: John Cote/INDYCAR