Mikhail Aleshin signs with Sam Schmidt for 2014

For the first time, a Russian will get behind the wheel of an IndyCar in 2014 as Mikahil Aleshin has signed with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, joining Simon Pagenaud.

Aleshin has spent the last few years in lower formulas in Europe, most notably in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, where he took the season championship in 2010. He also dabbled in Formula 2 and GP2 during that time as well.

“The last two or three years I’ve been looking in this direction and at one point in the middle of the 2013 season I decided that I just needed to change something,” Aleshin said in a release. “SMP Racing, my main sponsor, decided it would be a good idea to try something in the U.S. because there are no Russian drivers at this level, and considering the experience I have we thought it would all come together (in IndyCar).”

Aleshin got his first taste of IndyCar racing earlier this week at a test at Sebring and gave the experience a thumbs up.

“(Sebring) was my first test in an IndyCar and things were much different than what I’m used to inside the car,” Aleshin said. “In Europe there are different standards, but I like (the IndyCar) already, it’s really fun to drive. ”

Aleshin will replace Tristan Vautier in the #55 car. According to RACER, he is exploring his options for next season, which look to be another IndyCar ride or possibly a Sports Car deal.

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