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AGR aim to groom Mutoh next year

Andretti Green Racing believe that they can groom Hideki Mutoh into a race winner in the IndyCar Series

The Japanese driver has been signed as a replacement for 2007 champion Dario Franchitti, who has left the series to pursue a career in NASCAR.

But while Mutoh has just one start in the series to his name heading into his first season with the team, AGR co-owner Kim Green believes that the Indy Pro Series rookie of the year is worthy of the opportunity.

"Although Hideki did not win the (IPS) championship last year, he did very well in his first year of racing on ovals," said Green. "I think that validates him moving up to the IndyCar Series.

"We're delighted to have the opportunity to bring him on board and hopefully take him to that next level, which is the winner's circle."

Green added that Mutoh's one-off appearance with Panther Racing at the end of the season proved that his form in the feeder series had been genuine this season.

"In the season finale he was showing he could mix it up with the best side by side, working the traffic and still being sensible in the race car," he said.

"We believed in the IPS, those race cars are difficult to drive. A driver that can run up front with those cars and win can make it to the next step."

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