Robert Doornbos confers with engineers of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing after a test stint at Homestead - After missing a racing seat for the 2007 Formula One season, Robert Doornbos signed a contract with Minardi Team USA for the 2007 Champ Car World Series season. He made a successful debut in the series in the first race of the season, the Vegas Grand Prix. After qualifying 3rd, Doornbos finished on the podium, taking 2nd place in the race. This made him the first rookie since Nigel Mansell in 1993 to make it to the podium in his first Champ Car-race. Image Credit: NHLR/Doornbos
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Tap Robert Doornbos
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing announced that Robert Doornbos, 27, will join the team for the 2009 IndyCar Series season.
He will join Graham Rahal in the NHLR paddock to round out the two car effort. He replaces Justin Wilson who has signed on with Penske Racing to hold Helio Castroneves’ seat while Helio addresses and attends his trial for tax evasion.
Doornbos (nick-named "Bobby-D", around the paddock by ESPN) was a standout rookie to American open wheel racing when he competed in the ChampCar World Series the last year the series was in existence before it’s merger with the IndyCar Racing League in 2008. He finished on the podium five of the first six races, including victories at Mont Tremblant, Quebec, and San Jose, Calif. He went on to finish third in standings and received the Jim Trueman 2007 Rookie of the Year Award, ChampCar's highest rookie honor.
Most recently, Bobby-D kept in tune when he competed in the China and New Zealand rounds of the 2008/2009 A1GP series, recording podium finishes twice in four races (sprint and feature race per round).
"Bobby-D" Robert Doornbos at speed on the track at Homestead - Robert won the 2007 Mont-Tremblant Grand Prix in Canada and as a result took the joint lead of the championship with Sébastien Bourdais. Future team mate Graham Rahal place second. This is believed to be Bobby D's first introduction to Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. After scoring this victory, the ESPN broadcast team dubbed him "Bobby D" - a nickname he reportedly enjoys. Image Credit: NHLR/Doornbos
This excerpted and edited from IndyCar.com -
Doornbos on board
By indycar.com staff
He will participate in the IndyCar Series Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 24-25, and will receive additional track time Feb. 23 (designated for first-year drivers). Doornbos will be a teammate of Graham Rahal, who won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in his IndyCar Series debut last April.
"I'm very happy and proud to get this chance to race with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing," said Doornbos, of Rotterdam, Netherlands. "Racing in the IndyCar Series has been my biggest dream and especially to do it with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. The history of the team and the big success they have had in the past really attracted me and it makes me proud to become part of this winning team. Racing on the ovals should be very exciting. It will be tough, but I'm training as much as possible and am in good condition and ready to achieve results.
"I'm also excited to race in the legendary Indy 500. I really want to thank (team co-owners) Mr. (Carl) Haas and Mr. (Mike) anigan for giving me this chance. I'm looking forward to the first race."
Doornbos spent four seasons in various ladder series in Europe before he became the 2004 Rookie of the Year in the FIA International Formula 3000 series and finished third in series standings. That success led to becoming a test driver for two Formula One programs and he eventually made 11 Formula One starts during the 2005 and 2006 seasons for Minardi and Red Bull Racing, respectively, before he moved to the Champ Car World Series in 2007.
Robert Doornbos may be the most accomplished professional young driver ever to hail from the Netherlands. Bobby-D is a welcome addition to the international field that will race in the 2009 IndyCar Series.
... notes from The EDJE