As I was saying yesterday before being interrupted, Canadian car racer James Hinchcliffe of Oakville will test an Indy car for the legendary Newman-Haas IndyCar team at Sebring, Fla., on Dec. 13 and 14.
If the test is successful, and sponsorship negotiations with a major Canadian corporation go as expected, Hinchcliffe would drive for the team in the IZOD Indy Car Series, which includes the Honda Indy Toronto, in 2011.
Hinchcliffe, 23, finished second this season in the Firestone Indy Lights Series behind France’s J.K. Vernay, winning races in Long Beach, Edmonton and Chicago. Previously, he raced in Formula Atlantic.
In addition to his second-place finish in the Lights championship, Hinchcliffe was awarded an additional prize to celebrate his accomplishments of 2010 — the Greg Moore Legacy Award.
The Moore award, named in honour of Canadian auto racer Greg Moore who was killed in 1999, is traditionally given to a driver who best typifies Moore’s legacy of outstanding talent on track, as well as displaying a dynamic personality with fans, the media and the racing community.
Said the Oakville racer: “It’s tough to put into words what that award means to me. Greg Moore was my hero growing up, and still is today. He was such a good racecar driver, but on top of that he was just an incredible person. To have my name attached to an award that bears his is something that’s very special.”
If Hinchcliffe signs to drive for Newman-Haas, which was founded in the early 1980s by Chicago businessman Carl Haas and the late actor Paul Newman, he will be in select company. Over the years, the team has employed top drivers of the calibre of Nigel Mansell, Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy.
It would also signal a changing of the Indy car guard with younger Canadian drivers like Hinchcliffe being given the opportunity to race in the top series.