Mutoh Joins Newman/Haas/Lanigan
February 23, 2010 | 10:05 A.M. EST
"Hideki has shown he is able to adapt quickly to new challenges by finishing second overall in the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2007 when he competed on an oval for the first time," said Carl Haas on behalf of the team. "The 2008 battle for the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year in the newly-unified serieswas very closewith Hideki emerging asthe winner. In his two years in the IndyCar Series he has earnedseveral podium finishes and we are looking forward to addingmore."
Mutoh is a graduate of Honda's driver development program, Honda Formula Dream Project, and progressed through various ladder series in Japan and Europe before he came to the United States in 2007 to compete for Super Aguri Panther Racing in the Firestone Indy Lights series where he finished second to champion Alex Lloyd. He made his IndyCar Series debut at the 2007 season-finale at Chicagoland Speedway for Super Aguri Panther Racing and moved to Andretti Green Racing for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
"Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has always been known for their success and I am proud to add my name to all of those who have driven for the team before me," said Mutoh, who was born in Tokyo and resides in downtown Chicago, near the NHLR base in Lincolnshire. "I started watching Indy car racing when Nigel Mansell came to race in the United States from Formula One so I am happy to be racing for the same team he raced for. I already have taken my picture with his race car that is in the lobby of the team's race shop. I'm looking forward to starting the season."
Mutoh's first full season of IndyCar Series competition in 2008 saw him earn Rookie of the Year honors and a 10th place season-ending rank during the first season of the reunification of open wheel racing. In 2008, he also earned his best series start to date of third place at Nashville Speedway and best finish to date of second place at Iowa Speedway. In 2009, he finished 11th overall in series standings and his best start of fifth place came at Infineon Raceway while his best finish of third came at Iowa Speedway.