Luca Filippi to audition for Herta IndyCar seat

Long-time GP2 frontrunner Luca Filippi will test an IndyCar for Bryan Herta Autosport at Mid-Ohio on Wednesday with a view to potentially replacing Alex Tagliani at the track's forthcoming race

Luca Filippi to audition for Herta IndyCar seat

Confirmation of the Italian's test coincided with the news that Tagliani has agreed to step out of the race seat following a string of poor performances, although the Canadian will remain under contract to the team through to the end of the season.

A Herta statement reiterated its long-held plans to expand to a two-car team next year, and explained the change as an opportunity to evaluate new drivers and gather additional feedback about the car.

"We're taking this opportunity to evaluate our programme as we look toward the future," said team owner Bryan Herta.

"It makes sense at this point to look at the available pool of drivers that may fit into our future plans. We want to thank Alex for being a team player during the process and we look forward to seeing what Luca can do during the test in Mid-Ohio."

Filippi, who was in the frame for a seat with Rahal Letterman Lanigan last year before the deal was quashed by a lack of funding, said that he was excited by his opportunity.

"I've been working and waiting for a chance like this my whole life," said 27-year-old Filippi. "I can't wait to test the car and hopefully make the most of this opportunity to learn first-hand about IndyCar racing."

TAGLIANI UNDERSTANDS TEAM DECISION

Tagliani currently lies 21st in the drivers' championship while the team is stranded in 23rd in the entrants' points, exposing it to the possibility of finishing the season outside the top 20 and missing out on the lucrative Leaders' Circle payment.

The 39-year-old Tagliani, whose best result this year is a pair of 10th places in St Petersburg and the second Toronto race, admitted that he was disappointed to be stepping aside but remains optimistic that both himself and the team will ultimately benefit.

"It's never fun for a driver to not be in the car," said Tagliani. "But I see the benefit in racing in a team with a team-mate as opposed to being a single-car team. In this sport, things can turn around quickly."

Former Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand is another mooted contender for a BHA appearance before the season is out.

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