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Ex-F1 driver Max Chilton joins Ganassi for 2016 IndyCar season

Former Marussia Formula 1 driver Max Chilton will race in IndyCar for Chip Ganassi Racing this year

The 24-year-old has been announced as the team's fourth driver, taking over the #8 entry shared last year by Sage Karam and Sebastian Saavedra.

Chilton has yet to test one of the team's Chevrolet-powered machines, but will have five days of running ahead of the first race of the season in St Petersburg on March 13.

"It's like going back to Formula 1, but with a really good team," Chilton told Autosport.

"I am in the best place to learn and to do the best job I can as quickly as I can.

"There are certain tracks that are going to be really hard, especially the ovals that I haven't driven yet, but people will understand that it's my first year.

"But on tracks I do know I'm confident I can go for some victories and podiums."

Chilton switched to America with Carlin's Indy Lights programme in 2015 and took a win at Iowa Speedway on his way to fifth in the standings.

Ganassi, which will also run Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball, backed Chilton to do well in his rookie season.

"Max is a talented young driver who has driven a number of different disciplines already in a short time," said team boss Chip Ganassi.

"He brings a good deal of experience to our IndyCar line-up and we're looking forward to him being part of our four-car team in 2016 and making a big contribution."

Chilton is not ruling out a return to F1 in the future, but he is focused on his career outside grand prix racing after driving for Marussia in 2013-14.

He added that he particularly enjoyed being on the IndyCar package in 2015.

"I won't ever say F1 is off the cards," said Chilton.

"Say I win the IndyCar championship and a top or midfield team contacts me then I'd love to do it because it was my ultimate goal since I was a kid.

"But you have to be realistic and move on.

"I remember saying I would never do IndyCar for the past 10 years but then I gave it a go.

"I liked the environment, the tracks and did well on the ovals so it went from there and I'm really excited."

2016 INDYCAR DRIVER LINE-UP SO FAR

Chip Ganassi Racing - Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Max Chilton

Team Penske - Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud

Andretti Autosport - Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing - Honda
Graham Rahal, Spencer Pigot (partial schedule)

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - Honda
James Hinchcliffe, Mikhail Aleshin

Ed Carpenter Racing - Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter (partial schedule)

AJ Foyt Racing - Honda
Takuma Sato, Jack Hawksworth

Dale Coyne Racing - Honda
Conor Daly, Bryan Clauson (Indy 500 only under Jonathan Byrd's Racing banner)

KVSH Racing - Chevrolet
Sebastien Bourdais, Matthew Brabham (Indy races under Team Murray banner)

Dreyer & Reinbold - Kingdom Racing - Chevrolet
Sage Karam (Indy 500 only)

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