Updated at: 02/07/2013 2:08 PM
By JENNA FRYER
Andretti Autosport will have a four-car lineup this season with EJ Viso joining the IndyCar team.
Viso’s addition, announced Thursday, is a joint effort between Andretti and HVM Racing. The partnership allows HVM Racing to continue its participation in IndyCar in a business role while anticipating a potential return to competition in 2014.
The Keith Wiggins-owned HVM team was not planning on racing in IndyCar this season, but holds one of the coveted series-subsidizing Leader’s Circle bonuses.
"We are happy to welcome E.J. to the team and to again be running four cars," said team owner Michael Andretti. "He has shown speed in his early years as a driver which we view as very promising, and his personality will lend well to the overall chemistry of the drivers and crew. I’d like to thank Keith and HVM for their assistance in this project."
Viso joins a lineup that includes defending IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, and James Hinchcliffe and Mario Andretti. Viso will drive the No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Chevrolet, bringing the Team Venezuela sponsorship with him that he’s used throughout his career.
He is Team Venezuela’s premiere racer, and the only Latino-born driver currently racing full-time in the IndyCar series.
"I have been following E.J.’s career for quite some time and was able to help him get his start in racing 22 years ago," said Team Venezuela founder Vicente Tralci. "It’s an honor to be able to bring this opportunity to him and to pair with Andretti Autosport. It has always been our dream to be partnered with a team of such high reputation or results."
Viso, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, is entering his sixth season in IndyCar. He drove for KV Racing Technologies last season, and has 16 career top-10 finishes.
"I could not ask for more than to get the opportunity to drive for a championship team while representing my country," Viso said. "After five years in the series I believe I have found the right environment and look forward to having Ryan, James and Marco as teammates. I’m very proud to be able to move into the 2013 season with this new relationship; it’s a dream come true."
Andretti Autosport went from four cars to three following the 2011 season, and the addition of Viso makes it the largest organization in IndyCar. Andretti plans to field five cars in the Indianapolis 500, two full-time Firestone Indy Lights entries, two full-time Pro Mazda Championship entries and entries in the USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda.
Andretti Autosport is the only team that fields cars at each level of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)