February 17, 2014 — team release — photo courtesy INDYCAR — SEBRING, Fla. — IndyCar rookie Martin Plowman will do the “Indy Double” this May, thus taking part in the IndyCar Series’ newest race and, two weeks later, its most historic competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 26-year-old Englishman will drive the No. 41 Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda in the Indianapolis 500 it was announced by the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team today.
The venture marks the first time that Al-Fe Heat Treating will be the primary sponsor of an Indy Car. The company began as an associate sponsor of the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team in 2011. The Ft. Wayne, Indiana-based company has continued to build its involvement in the IndyCar Series over the past three seasons; Al-Fe started as an associate sponsor of the No. 41 car in the Indy 500 and became a season long associate sponsor on the No. 14 car in the IndyCar Series.
“We, at Al-Fe Heat Treating, are very excited about being a primary sponsor with AJ Foyt Racing for IndyCar’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in our home state and before our home crowd!” said Kurt Westman, President of Al-Fe Heat Treating. “Larry [Foyt] and I have discussed this possibility over the last season and we feel this is the perfect venue for us to step-up with the team.
“Being part of bringing Martin back to IndyCar is special and having him run both races at Indianapolis will allow us to build momentum and teamwork going into the ‘500’. I am looking forward to meeting Martin at this Wednesday’s practice at Sebring,” Westman added.
Plowman, who will test for the team at Sebring International Raceway Feb. 19th, is thrilled about the prospects of returning to the IndyCar Series.
“Once my career took me to sports cars I was concerned that I would never get the chance to race at and win the Indy 500,” Plowman revealed. “Winning at Le Mans last year was an incredible feeling that can only be beaten by one day adding my face to the Borg Warner trophy. I’ve lived in Indianapolis for the last five years, and winning there is what I dream about.
“I have to say a massive thank you to Larry and A.J. Foyt, ABC Supply, Al-Fe Heat Treating and all who have made this opportunity possible,” Plowman added. “A.J. Foyt is one of the greatest drivers to have lived and someone who I look up to a lot. It will be an honor to represent his team in May.”
Plowman will make his Indy 500 debut but he has competed on the 2.5 mile oval twice in the Indy Lights Series, finishing fifth in 2010 for Andretti Autosport. He went on to finish third in the series championship that year. In 2011, he competed for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in three IndyCar races, all of which were on road and street courses. His best finish was 11th in the Baltimore Grand Prix.
Team Director Larry Foyt is anticipating a smooth return to the Series by Plowman, who spent the past two years competing in sports cars. In 2012, Plowman finished second in the American Le Mans Series LMP2 division and then won the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship along with the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans, also in the LMP2 division.
“I always kept an eye on Martin ever since I got to know him on the Indy 500 Centennial Tour,” said Foyt, who attended the 10-day visit to U.S. military bases in Europe and southwest Asia along with an IndyCar contingent of drivers, team owners and officials in 2011. “Martin did a nice job without much seat time in the few IndyCar races he participated in, and has had great results in a tough sports car division. I think he is a great fit for Al-Fe Racing and the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team–he brings the kind of attitude that helps everyone succeed. I’m looking forward to working with him and I think we can achieve good results for car 41.”
Plowman will test the Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course along with regular ABC Supply driver Takuma Sato on April 30 when the IndyCar Series hosts an open test for all participants.
The Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be broadcast live by ABC-TV on May 10 starting at 3:30 p.m. ET. For the 50th straight year, the Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast by ABC-TV with the live pre-race show starting at 11:00 a.m. ET on May 25th.