Verizon INDYCAR Series
IMSA Rivals Join Forces To Enter Servia At Indy
For IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship fans, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Scuderia Corsa are rivals in the grand touring categories. This May, however, they will join forces at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
On Friday morning, the two entities announced a joint partnership to field 2011 Indianapolis 500 front row qualifier Oriol Servia in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
Both teams are no strangers to success in racing. Rahal’s IndyCar squad has won five races in the last three years, while being a regular winner in the GT Le Mans division of IMSA, as overseers of the BMW factory program. Scuderia Corsa meanwhile, has earned three consecutive driver’s titles in the lower GT Daytona classification, with one of those titles grabbed by multi-time Indy 500 starter Townsend Bell.
“It is an honor to compete at ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” Giacomo Mattioli, owner of Scuderia Corsa, said in a released statement. “To be a part of this great racing heritage and tradition is something I always envisioned for Scuderia Corsa and running across the yard of the bricks this year is a thrill.”
Scuderia Corsa is managed by former IndyCar competitor Stefan Johansson, who made the show at the Brickyard three times from 1993 through 1995, although he may be more remembered for bumping Team Penske driver Emerson Fittipaldi out of the starting lineup in the latter year. This will be the Swedish-native’s first foray at Indy as a team owner since 1997, when he and driver Scott Harrington failed to make the grid, despite a valiant last-second attempt.
The signing of Servia takes one of the best so-called “Indy Specialists” off the free-agent list. It also provides the Rahal-Corsa squad with maybe one of the more knowledgeable pilots concerning how the new aero kit for the Dallara DW12 may handle the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This past fall, the Spaniard worked alongside two-time Indy 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya, in running the first laps at the 2.5 mile oval with the new bodywork.
The No. 64 Honda-powered machine will be sponsored by Manitowoc, a backer of Rahal’s Indy-only effort for the past two seasons. The Wisconsin-based business designs large mechanical cranes used for major constructions projects.
“We needed another party to ensure we’re going to win,” Servia said of Scuderia Corsa. “Obviously both teams are very successful, winning teams. I couldn’t be happier that they agreed. When you put two teams together, you never know how it’s going to come out. They both saw the advantage of taking this shot together, with our friends at Honda supporting, too.”
The veteran comes into the 2018 Indy 500 off the strength of a contending run in last year’s event, running as high as third-place before being eliminated in a turn one crash with James Davison during the final 20 laps. Servia has also proven capable of charging through the field in IndyCar’s premier event, moving from a ninth row start in 2012 to reach the checkered flag in fourth, his best output to date.
The confirmation of Servia provides the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 with its 32nd entry, with as many as four more believed to be in the development stages with the opening day of practice on May 15th fast approaching.
FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @MattEmbury
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.