SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Mario Moraes says it seemed like a perpetual off-season. Working through details to return for a third IZOD IndyCar Series season, sometimes his spirits dropped but not his determination.
Well, a deal came to fruition less than 48 hours before the initial practice session for the season-opening São Paulo Indy 300. Moraes will drive the No. 32 Banco Panamericano-KV Racing Technology entry on the streets of São Paulo and will continue in the car for the remainder of the season.
"It has been a long time waiting, but I’m pleased that I have this opportunity,” said Moraes, a native of Sao Paulo who will join Takuma Sato (No. 5 car) and E.J. Viso (No. 8) this season. “I want to thank (team co-owners) Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser for putting this all together. For the race in Brazil, I want to thank Banco Panamericano, the Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi and Itatiaia Group for their sponsorship.
“It’s great to be back working with the team. Being in the car to start the season is very important for me, especially since the race race is in my hometown. I didn’t make the preseason test (Feb. 24-25 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama), so it’s straight to the race weekend. It will be a challenge and work to get used to the new engineers and new people, but I think we’re going to have a good weekend.”
Moraes, 21, recorded six top-10 finishes (three top fives) – highlighted by a third place on the Chicagoland Speedway oval. His road/street course best finish is fourth at Infineon Raceway. In 2008, while drivig for Dale Coyne Racing in his initial IZOD IndyCar Series season, Moraes posted three top-10 finishes with a best of seventh at Watkins Glen International.
Moraes started in go-karts in Brazil and moved to cars in 2004, competing in Formula TR 1600 (three wins, seven podiums in 11 starts).
“We are very pleased to have Mario back in the seat with KVRT,” general manager Mark Johnson said. “Mario showed last season he can be very competitive and is in the process of becoming one of the top talents in the series. He has grown and matured on and off the racetrack over the last year due in part to the support of his family and the many positive influences in his life.
“Mario finished the 2009 season with very strong results and I would expect more of the same starting this weekend.”Back to Top