Barrichello in the Indy car at Infineon Raceway - LAT photoEnlarge Photo
KV Racing Technology (KVRT) confirmed its complete lineup for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series in Brazil today, with both Rubens Barrichello and Tony Kanaan joining EJ Viso in competing for the full season in a trio of Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone entries.
Barichello has been assigned the No. 8 BMC/Embrase race car; Kanaan returns to the No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Electronics entry; and Viso's got the No. 5 CITGO/PDVSA racer this year - Viso swapped numbers for the year after driving the No. 8 last season. Barrichello's deal is for a single season with options.
After so many years in Formula One, Barrichello joins his "brother" Kanaan in the Indy cars, following two exploratory tests with KVRT. "I gave my best in F1 for 19 years," he explained. Barrichello first came to the Indianapolis 500 his first year in F1, 1993, and was taken with the show.
"I had no expectations at Sebring," his first test in Kanaan's car, "but the car felt good; I wanted to do it straightaway because I love the sport and I love the speeds. I love the challenge of car development," Barrichello said. "This year everybody is learning but I'm not starting from '00' because I have a lot of experience." He'll be doing his first oval test - and rookie oval test - at Texas Motor Speedway's 1.5-mile banked oval when the series holds its sole preparatory open session prior to the first oval race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Barrichello stated he'll be looking forward to interaction with fans, something he rarely did as an F1 driver. He enjoyed meeting and greeting the many aficionados who came to Infineon Raceway Sears Point to watch open testing for the Indy cars last weekend.
"I am thrilled," Barrichello said. "It is something very new to me. With all my experience I will start as a rookie, but I think I will get better as the year progresses. I hope with my contribution to KV Racing Technology we can build on Tony's contribution to the team from last year and take the team to another level. I am extremely happy and have a big smile on my face."
Kanaan, the 2004 IZOD IndyCar Series champion is in his 15th US-based open-wheel season; he started in 1996 with Tasman Motorsports in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship. It's his 11th Indy car season and his second with KVRT. The 37-year-old Brazilian, fifth in the standings last year, is one of the most consistent and fearless drivers in the series, who has placed in the top six every year he's competed.
"I am very excited to be returning to KV Racing Technology, not only with a two-year deal but also to have Rubens Barrichello as my teammate," Kanaan said. "We have always dreamed about racing together (aside from their winter kart races in Brazil) but never imagined it would actually happen and certainly not in the near future or in Indy cars. So I am looking forward to the start of the season. I think it's going to be a very exciting year."
The announcement that this duo were joining KVRT for the upcoming season took place in Brazil today. The team announced earlier in the week that Viso would be returning for his third consecutive season.