Luca Filippi, who has made eight Verizon IndyCar Series starts over the past two seasons, will drive the No. 20 Fuzzy's Award Winning Vodka car in Verizon IndyCar Series road/street course events this season, the team announced.
Ed Carpenter, the only owner/driver in the series, will continue to contest the No. 20 car at the oval events. CFH Racing’s two-car effort is rounded out by Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 67 car in all races.
“It's a great feeling. I can't wait to race and share the No. 20 with Ed this year,” said Filippi, who will join Newgarden for testing Feb. 3-4 at Sebring International Raceway. “I have to thank Ed, Fuzzy’s Vodka and CFH Racing for this fantastic opportunity and I look forward to the successes we will enjoy this season.”
Filippi, 29, of Italy, made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in 2013, competing in four races with Bryan Herta Autosport. In 2014, he competed in the Houston and Toronto doubleheaders for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (best start of fourth in Houston 1; best finish of 15th in Houston 2).
Carpenter, co-owner with Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman of CFH Racing, said he's had an interest in Filippi since he made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
“We have seen the potential that Luca has shown over the past two seasons in his limited races and we feel that he will allow us to continue to compete for wins, " Carpenter said. "I cannot wait to get the season started so we can work toward our goal of claiming the entrant points championship.”
Carpenter recorded three podium finishes, including his third Verizon IndyCar Series victory, in six oval races in 2014. Mike Conway, who competed on the road/street courses in the No. 20 car, won at Long Beach and Toronto 2. Earlier in the day, Toyota Racing confirmed that Conway would be co-driving its entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship for 2015.
There are 10 road/street course races on the 2015 schedule, including the the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29 and the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma finale Aug. 30.
After beginning his career in karting, Filippi worked his way up the European formula car ladder. He has claimed runner-up places finishes in the GP2 Championship, the Auto GP Championship and the GP2 Asia Championship.
Newgarden, the 2011 Indy Lights champion, enters his fourth season with the team and his first with a teammate.
“We’ll be focusing on is trying to maximize a two-car program for us. (Filippi) brings such a wealth of open-wheel experience and talent,” said Newgarden, who closed the 2014 season with four consecutive top-five starting positions and had seven top-10 finishes overall. “It's critical to have a fast driver in the seat next to you that pushes you every weekend and that you can learn from. He's going to be a tough guy to beat and that's exactly what we need to elevate our street and road course game.”
Filippi recognizes the benefits as well. He was the lone entry for Bryan Herta Autosport in 2013 while Graham Rahal was his teammate for the four races in 2014.
“Josef will be a very strong teammate to work with on the road and street courses. I'm looking forward to learning from him and watching Ed on the ovals as well,” he said.