Pagenaud to Sub for Beatriz
April 6, 2011 | 4:30 P.M. EST
Surgery to repair the scaphoid bone (wrist) last week will keep Ana Beatriz from competing in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.
Filling the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing seat will be reigning American Le Mans Series champion and former Champ Car driver Simon Pagenaud, who will be making his IZOD IndyCar Series debut.
"I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to drive Bia's No. 24 IndyCar this weekend," said Pagenaud, 26, of France. "It's an awkward situation and not the best for a driver to race in circumstances like this, but I wish her the best and hope she has a very quick recovery and I will work hard for a good finish for DRR, Bia and Ipiranga/Blazemaster.
"I've been looking to get into IndyCar for several years and now is my chance, so I just have to say thank you to everyone for giving me the opportunity."
Beatriz, 24, of Brazil, suffered the injury on Lap 5 of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27 when her car made contact with the No. 38 car driven by Graham Rahal. She soldiered on, advancing six positions to finish 14th.
"I could feel that my hand was sore and as the race went on it started to bother me more and I was in a lot of pain," she said. "I was just focused and determined on finishing the race. I really wanted it knowing that I wasn't 100 percent. Fortunately, I was able to finish the race and I got some good experience under my belt.
"It wasn't until after the race that I realized that something was actually broken. I was pretty upset, but the team and the league have been great. I'm putting a lot of effort in being ready for Long Beach (April 17)."
Pagenaud, a teammate of Will Power in the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, finished eighth in points. He moved to ALMS for the 2008 season with de Ferran Motorsports, finishing 14th and second in the standings over two years. Pagenaud competed with the Patrón Highcroft team in 2010, co-driving with David Brabham to the LMP1 title. The Highcroft team of Pagenaud, Brabham and Marino Franchitti finished second in the 12 Hours of Sebring three weeks ago in the Honda Performance Development ARX-01e.
"We wanted to put Bia in the car for this race, but it's more important that she heals properly and has a quick recovery," Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. "She's working hard and headed down the right track so that she can be ready for Long Beach. While she recovers we are happy that Simon can fill in for her this weekend."