Aleshin: Back with my family in IndyCar

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Mikhail Aleshin feels like he is back with his racing family as he prepares to return to the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time in 2016 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Aleshin made his IndyCar debut in 2014 with Sam Schmidt’s team, scoring a breakthrough podium finish in Houston en route to 16th place in the final standings.

However, Aleshin turned his focus to endurance racing in 2015 with Russian outfit SMP Racing in the European Le Mans Series where he raced in the LMP2 class.

A one-off run with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports came at the IndyCar season finale at Sonoma where he finished tenth, and Aleshin has since secured the second seat at the team for 2016 alongside James Hinchcliffe.

Writing in his ‘driver debrief’ for the IndyCar website, Aleshin explained how he felt he had returned to his family in the series after a year away.

“I feel like I am back with my family again,” Aleshin said. “After being away from the Verizon IndyCar Series for almost all of 2015, it is great to know I will be with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports again next season, and for the whole season.

“We tested last week at Sebring and it just makes me more excited for 2016. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is a very good team and we had a great experience together in 2014.

“Together with SMP Racing, my sponsor in Russia who has a great racing program in many series, we thought that it would be great to come back to IndyCar. I’m very happy that we could put it all together so I can become be a part of this team again. They are all like a family to me.”

Aleshin admitted that he was surprised by the levels of downforce offered by the new aero kits, but is excited to be returning to front-line single-seater racing on a full-time basis.

“I can’t wait to get back full-time in the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Aleshin said. “I have no words, only emotions because I am so excited. It’s really one of the best and most competitive series I’ve been to. So it’s really great to be back, as I feel I have huge potential to show up here.

“I was able to drive in the last race this season at Sonoma, so I did get some experience with the new aero kits.

“I was very surprised on the ’15 kit’s downforce level when I did the final race in Sonoma. The car became faster and more physical to drive, which makes it even more challenging for drivers, which makes me even more interested to drive.

“Driving an Indy car is real racing, which you don’t see so often in these days, and I’m very happy to take this challenge!”