- Associated Press - Thursday, December 8, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Sam Schmidt Motorsports has hired Simon Pagenaud to drive in the 2012 IndyCar season.

The 27-year-old French native was a factory driver last season for Honda at the 12 Hours of Sebring and for Peugeot at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and made three IndyCar starts, replacing different injured drivers.

In 2006, Pagenaud won the Champ Car Atlantic title with Derrick Walker’s team, then jumped to the now defunct Champ Car Series in 2007, where he finished eighth in points.

When the IndyCar Series and Champ Car merged in 2008, Pagenaud drove for former Indy 500 champ Gil de Ferran and won five times in the American Le Mans Series.

Schmidt is in his second full-time season on the IndyCar circuit.

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