Sebastian Saavedra has been confirmed for KV Racing’s second IndyCar for the 2014 season. The Colombian will drive the No. 17 AFS-backed KV AFS Racing Chevrolet, and for a second straight year, be teammates with Sebastien Bourdais.
KV Racing, run by Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser, have joined forces with Gary Peterson’s AFS group to make the entry. Vasser said the engineering lineup are confirmed and will be released at a later time.
“I’m very excited to be honest,” Saavedra said. “It’s very important to have some sort of relationship with teammates last year. We get to work together, find out what we like, and joining forces again with a great team with a history, and the mentality of securing the Indy 500 last year is even more motivation. Having the tools, the energy, will help.”
Bourdais and Saavedra were teammates at Dragon Racing in 2013, but Dragon will not return to IndyCar on a full-time basis in 2014. The only confirmed program for Jay Penske’s organization in 2014 is the team’s FIA Formula E Championship effort.
Saavedra and Peterson have worked together on two prior occasions. When the Colombian first entered Indy Lights in 2009, he was in an AFS/Andretti Green Racing entry. Additionally, when he stepped back down to Indy Lights in 2012, it was with Peterson’s support in a then-AFS/Andretti Autosport car. He made three IndyCar starts in 2012, both 500-mile races at Indianapolis and Fontana and the road race at Sonoma.
Colombia now has its third confirmed driver on the 2014 IndyCar grid, as Saavedra joins his old Indy Lights teammate Carlos Munoz and Juan Pablo Montoya in the field.
Vasser added during the conference call held Wednesday that the team has “real good” chances of running a third car for the Indianapolis 500, for a veteran male or female driver.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.