Josef Newgarden, who was one of 19 drivers invited to the FIA Young Driver Academy Shootout, has chosen to forgo the invite to Melk, Austria in order to pursue an Indy Lights ride with Andretti Autosport stateside.
Newgarden made the following comment in a release:
“While my ultimate goal remains to compete in the Formula One World Championship, in recent days it has become clear that the best opportunity I would have to further my career with a championship-caliber team this season would be in the Firestone Indy Lights series with Andretti Autosport,” said Josef. “While it was a very difficult decision to miss the FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy shootout, J-F and the rest of the Andretti team really wanted me in the car for the Phoenix test. Since I only have a limited amount of time in an Indy Lights car, every testing mile will be precious if we hope to contend for the championship this year. I extend my sincere thanks to Nick Craw and everyone at the FIA who was involved in my nomination to participate in such a prestigious competition, and I wish all of the competitors the best of luck, particularly my fellow American, Alexander Rossi.”
Newgarden, who spent last season in the GP3 Series, recently traveled to the Andretti Autosport shop for a seat-fitting in preparation for an upcoming Indy Lights test at Phoenix International Raceway.
The FIA Invite was a pretty big opportunity to pass up, so it’s probably safe to assume that Newgarden will be announced as a full-time commit with Andretti-Autosport for the 2011 season. Stay tuned for future updates.