Jean Alesi to drive for Newman/Haas in the 500

From Racer Magazine:

Jean Alesi has confirmed that his inaugural assault on the Indianapolis 500 will be run by legendary IndyCar team Newman/Haas Racing for the Month of May. The deal, first tipped yesterday by French magazine AUTOhebdo, was confirmed by the Sicilian himself on Thursday.

The 47-year-old ex-Formula 1 racer announced plans last September to contest the 500-mile open-wheel classic on May 27. Alesi, who started 201 grand prix but has never raced on an oval, will drive a Lotus-powered Dallara DW12 for the Illinois-based team owned by Carl Haas. Newman/Haas, which Haas founded along with the late Paul Newman, was also the team that brought F1’s Nigel Mansell to Indy in 1993, and has been a dominant force at Indy many times with the likes of Mario and Michael Andretti, although it has never won the 500.

Newman/Haas announced back in December that it wouldn’t compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012 due to lack of sponsorship, but will run Alesi on a one-off basis at Indianapolis, having assisted Lotus squad Dragon Racing so far this year.

“It’s going to be with Newman/Haas and it was signed yesterday,” Alesi told AUTOSPORT. “We have a lot of details still to decide, such as when I’ll be in the car for the first time, all those kind of things. For me, it’s fantastic because I need as much support as I can get, from the team ­– even from the fans, I will have to ask them how to drive there!

“I am extremely excited about it. I’m not worried, but I feel a big pressure on me. I will try to be as fit as possible and to be in top condition to do a good job.”

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