Robert Doorbos to Make IndyCar Debut with Newman/Haas/Lanigan

Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing will officially make a 2-car effort in their second IndyCar campaign. Dutch driver Robert Doornbos – formerly member of the Minardi Team USA in the 2007 Champ Car Series – was confirmed as official race driver for NHL and will make his IndyCar Series debut in 2009 alongside new teammate Graham Rahal.

“I'm very happy and proud to get this chance to race with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. Racing in the IndyCar Series has been my biggest dream and especially to do it with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. The history of the team and the big success they have had in the past really attracted me, and it makes me proud to become part of this winning team,” said Doornbos.

Following two unsuccessful years in Formula in 2005 and 2006, the Dutch driver became a true menace to Sebastien Bourdais' winning streak in the Champ Car Series the following year. Making his debut in the series, he scored 2 wins and ranked 3rd overall in the overall classification, being offered the “Rookie of the Year” award at the end of the year.

Doornbos spent most of last year competing in the A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport and the newly-formed Superleague Formula, having failed to secure a drive in the unified Indy Car Series.

“Racing on the ovals should be very exciting. It will be tough, but I'm training as much as possible and am in good condition and ready to achieve results. I'm also excited to race in the legendary Indy 500. I really want to thank Mr Haas and Mr Lanigan for giving me this chance. I'm looking forward to the first race,” added Doornbos.

Team co-owner Carl Haas admitted that part of the decision to pick Doornbos was based on the Dutchman's great rookie season in the Champ Car Series two years ago. It was then one of the few years Bourdais – then driving for NHL Racing – had to really work hard to retain his championship crown.

“He was a fierce competitor in Champ Car, and we are hoping for the same in the IndyCar Series. He was able to quickly adapt to the new challenges in Champ Car, which should bode well for the learning curve we will face in getting him acclimatized to oval racing,” said Haas.
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