American Josef Newgarden and Argentinian Esteban Guerrieri have signed with Sam Schmidt Motorsports for the 2011 Indy Lights series.
The two will join teammate Victor Carbone and part-timers Bryan Clauson (ovals) and Conor Daly (road courses) in the SSM camp this season. The new additions add to an already deep, but young, roster. Schmidt has done a nice job recruiting this off-season and will likely add another extremely successful season to the squad’s impressive resume at the end of the 2011 calendar.
Guerrieri, the oldest driver on the team (at 26), wrapped up a solid 2010 season by finishing third in the competitive World Series by Renault championship. He concluded the year with six wins, eight podiums and three pole positions in 14 starts. Guerrieri brings a ton of experience to SSM and will likely have little trouble adapting to the FIL car. That said, he has zero oval experience heading into the season.
Newgarden’s signing isn’t surprising. Most knew he would be returning to the American racing scene and joining the Indy Lights championship for 2011. This all but guaranteed it.
While Josef still maintains his ultimate goal is Formula One, he decided to return to North America this year after spending the previous two seasons in Europe. In 2009, he finished second in the British Formula Ford Championship, logging nine wins and 16 podiums in 25 starts. Additionally, he won two Formula Palmer Audi races in three starts. Last season, the talented up-and-comer made the jump to GP3 where he scored a pole position at Hockenheim and finished inside the top-five in his final start (Monza). Moving to a Indy Lights car will be another big change for the Tennessee native, but one Newgarden is more than capable of making.
Josef tested with Sam Schmidt Motorsports in November and will return to the cockpit — along with the rest of the team — for the upcoming spring testing at Barber Motorsports Park on March 16.
Watch for good things from the SSM squad in 2011.