The Firestone Indy Lights season opens in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday and Bryan Herta Autosport will have two cars in the race.
Drivers Stephan Wilson and Sebastian Saavedra give Bryan Herta Autosport, the team owned by Valencia’s Bryan Herta, a new look and a higher expectations. Herta is entering his second season as an owner in the Indy Lights series. His team expanded from one driver to two.
Wilson is the younger brother of Izod IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson. Saavedra is a two-time winner in Indy Lights and comes over from Andretti Autosport after winning the rookie of the year in 2009.
Wilson made six starts in the Indy Lights series last year, his best finish a fourth place in Toronto.
“I am really looking forward to this weekend,” said the 20-year-old Wilson. “I had a so-so race here last year. It was my first race and only my second day in the car after a shakedown test. I jumped in with a very steep learning curve but I felt we were competitive even straight out of the box. Unfortunately, I made a few unlucky mistakes that cost me some decent finishes. I am looking forward to coming back with a bit more experience and with a really competitive team in Bryan Herta Autosport.”
Wilson, driving for the First Racing/Walker Racing team, finished 13th in one of the doubleheader races in the season-opener at St. Petersburg last year.
Wilson said his pre-season testing with Bryan Herta Autosport has gone well.
“The first time I drove the car I was impressed with how well it handled,” Wilson said. “I have gelled really well with the team and enjoy working with my engineer Brian Page. I am very excited to have Sebastian as a teammate. He brings a lot of experience with a full season of Indy Lights and I know that is going to help me. He knows what a good car feels like and what we want to achieve.”
Saavedra won the pole and finished second in one of the season-opening races in St. Petersburg last year.
“St. Petersburg is one of my favorite tracks, and I am very confident coming here for the second time after the good results last year,” said the 19-year-old Saavedra. “Testing has gone great. Our main objective was to get to know each other and start working together, for me to learn how Steve [Newey] works and for him to know how I work. I am very happy with how everything has come together.”
Newey and Herta are ownership partners in the team. Part of the team’s expansion in 2010 was to enter Saavedra in the Indianapolis 500.
“It is great that he is entered in the Indy 500,” Wilson said. “It really strengthens the whole team. It will be exciting to be there and witness my team compete and, hopefully, it will give me a lot of experience as that is what I am striving to do next year. For now, I am looking forward to the race this weekend. This is one of my favorite tracks on the calendar and I am looking for a good finish here. I am confident we will be a really strong force to be reckoned with this season.”
Saavedra said he has enjoyed working with his new teammate and preparing for the Indy Lights season opener.
“My relationship with Stefan is great,” Saavedra said. “He is a very good driver who wants to win and that has helped us to have a very good relationship. We have been working well together to make the cars as good as possible. We found some very interesting things at our last test at Sebring which worked very well and will help us this weekend. I think we both will have cars capable of winning. We have the right tools, the right engineering and the right mentality to come to this first race.”