Andretti Autosport has added Ana Beatriz to the team’s driver lineup for two IZOD IndyCar Series races in 2012. Beatriz will race for Andretti Autosport in her hometown event, the São Paulo Indy 300 (April 27-29), and then attempt to make her third Indianapolis 500 start in May as a co-entrant for Andretti Autosport with Conquest Racing. Beatriz will race the No. 25 Chevrolet sponsored by Ipiranga, one of Brazil’s iconic petroleum and convenience retail companies.
The 27-year-old Beatriz will drive the fourth entry for Andretti Autosport at São Paulo, joining teammates Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. For the Indianapolis 500 she will pilot a fifth DW12 for Andretti (Sebastian Saavedra will be the team’s fourth driver in an AFS Racing co-entry). Beatriz completed a test session with Andretti Autosport in March at Sebring International Raceway.
“I’ve been watching Bia for a few years," said Michael Andretti, Chairman, President and CEO of Andretti Autosport. "She was very strong in Firestone Indy Lights, and I was impressed by the pace she showed there. This opportunity is a good fit for us as a team. Brazil is an important, growing market for many of our sponsors, so to have a Brazilian driver and Ipiranga come aboard with us made a lot of sense. This opportunity came to us late so we are grateful for the operational support provided by Conquest Racing.”
Beatriz has 20 previous starts in the IZOD IndyCar Series, with a career-best finish of 11th at Toronto in 2011. She made her first IndyCar start in 2010 at the São Paolo race. She is the first Brazilian woman to start in the Indianapolis 500, where she has twice finished 21st.
“Driving for Andretti Autosport is the biggest opportunity I’ve had in IndyCar and my career," Beatriz said. "I am very honored to be part of Michael’s (Andretti) team for Brazil and the Indy 500. I would like to thank my management team, Andre Ribeiro and Augusto Cesario, for putting this deal together with Michael, John (Lopes) and JF (Thormann). Also I am very happy to have Ipiranga supporting me again for these races and Andretti couldn't be a better fit. I am very much looking forward to working with the team, Marco (Andretti), James (Hinchcliffe) and Ryan (Hunter-Reay).”
"We are very happy to be partnering with Andretti Autosport in this project," said Conquest Racing's owner, Eric Bachelart, "they are a top organization and we look forward to developing a successful relationship with them. Our team has had a lot of momentum recently and this is a program that fits in very well with everything we are doing in other series. This will be a historic year for the 500 with all new cars and it gives us a great opportunity to fight for a top spot with Ana in the car.”
Beatriz, who goes by the nickname ‘Bia,’came up through the Brazilian karting and open wheel ranks before she entered Firestone Indy Lights in 2008. She was the first woman to win in the series with a victory at Nashville in 2008, and she followed-up with a second oval win at Iowa in 2009.