Sebastian Saavedra to pilot No. 7 Schmidt Peterson entry in Toronto

Dana Garrett/INDYCAR

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

In an unexpected move, Sebastian Saavedra is set for a return to the Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) in this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced in a statement Thursday that Saavedra, 27, has been called up to pilot the team’s No. 7 Honda typically driven by Mikhail Aleshin.

The No. 7 Honda will feature AFS Racing support from Gary Peterson, a longtime ally of Saavedra. Aleshin will be on-site to support the team, though the statement notes that “neither the team nor Aleshin will be providing updates at this time.”

This won’t be the first time the No. 7 entry has seen a new face this season. Canadian DTM driver Robert Wickens flew in to drive the machine during last month’s race weekend at Road America after Aleshin was delayed by immigration issues following his run in France’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Aleshin ultimately made it to the track in time to participate in Sunday’s race.

The Russian competed with the team as recently as last weekend at Iowa Speedway, where he finished 21st after an early crash.

Saavedra offers an experienced replacement. The Columbian has 62 races of VICS experience, including six starts in Toronto with a best finish of 15th (Race Two, 2013). Saavedra also has a win at the facility in Indy Lights – a 2009 triumph from pole in a joint AFS/Andretti Autosport entry.

Saavedra’s most recent start came in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 as part of a new double-entry by Mazda Road to Indy veterans Juncos Racing. Saavedra finished 15th in the attempt.

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