Meira Joins Field of Honda Drivers at Motegi

3/26/2004 6:28:32 PM

The field of Honda-powered drivers for next month's Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi has grown to 10 with the addition of Brazilian Vitor Meira, who is slated to make his first start of the 2004 IndyCar season at the April 15-17 event.

Meira was announced today as the driver of a third Team Rahal entry at the Motegi event, Round 3 of the 2004 IndyCar championship. The race will air live on ESPN2 on Friday evening, April 16, beginning at midnight ET.

Meira will drive a Honda-powered G-Force at Motegi, where he will team with Buddy Rice and Roger Yasukawa to form a three-pronged Team Rahal entry in the 300-mile event.

"We see Vitor as the type of experienced driver who can be a valuable asset to our program at Twin Ring Motegi," said Robert Clarke, Vice President and General Manager of Honda Performance Development. "His record in IndyCar racing shows that he knows how to get to the front, and we look forward to benefiting from Vitor's talents in our pursuit of the IndyCar Manufacturers' championship."

"We are pleased to bring Vitor into our Team Rahal driver lineup," noted Bobby Rahal, who co-owns Team Rahal with entertainer David Letterman. "Vitor is a talented young driver who was impressive in his performances previously in the IndyCar series. I believe he will work well with Buddy and Roger at Motegi."

Meira comes to Team Rahal after making a combined 14 IndyCar starts for Team Menard during the 2002-03 seasons. He won a pole position and went on to a career-best finish of third in a September, 2002 event at Texas Motor Speedway. He owns four top-10 finishes in his 14 IndyCar starts.

"I'm very excited to drive for Team Rahal," said Meira. "This team has been one of the best in open-wheel racing for many years and I'm looking forward to working with the organization. Driving with Honda power is a big plus for me, too. I'm eager to get to Motegi."

In addition to the three Team Rahal entries, Honda-powered drivers at the Indy Japan 300 will include IndyCar points leader Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti, Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta of Andretti Green Racing; Adrian Fernandez and Kosuke Matsuura of Fernandez/Super Aguri Fernandez Racing and owner/driver Greg Ray of Access Motorsports.