Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vautier: The Poster Boy for The Road to Indy

Yesterday, the 2012 Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier was confirmed to team with fellow Frenchman and defending IndyCar Rookie of the Year Simon Pagenaud at Schimdt-Peterson Motorsports, a duo that is quickly been nicknamed the French Connection. Vautier held off his teammate Esteban Guerrieri to win the 2012 Indy Lights title by eight points. 

Vautier is truly the poster boy for the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system. In the beginning of 2011, Vautier started his second season in the Star Mazda championship, where he won four races, scored six podiums, finished in the top five for all eleven races and held off American Connor De Phillippi to win the championship by 25 points and get promoted to Indy Lights. With his Lights title last year, Vautier's success has led him to the top of the ladder, the Izod IndyCar Series, is it was meant to be. 

Vautier joins JR Hildebrand, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Oriol Servia and Tony Kanaan as past Indy Lights champions in the current IndyCar field while also joining other past graduates James Hinchcliffe, Charlie Kimball, Ed Carpenter and Marco Andretti.

With the signing of Vautier, the tentative 2013 IndyCar grid now appears to be up to 22 entries, 12 Chevrolets and 10 Hondas. Other potential seats that remain open for 2013 are a fourth Ganassi, fourth Andretti, third Penske, second Coyne and the addition of Michael Shank Racing.