Sebastian Saavedra is a racing driver from Colombia who currently competes in the Prototype class of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. Previously, he spent the most of his career in the IndyCar Series, debuting in 2010 and recording 63 starts, without wins or podiums, until 2017.
Earlier in a career, Saavedra raced in Formula BMW, Formula 3 and Indy Lights series, finishing best as a vice-champion in the German Formula 3 in 2008.
Two seasons in Formula BMW early in a career
Born in June 1990 in Bogota, Colombia, Sebastian Saavedra spent a couple of years in karting competitions before switching to Formula BMW in 2006. He raced a full season in the American edition of Formula BMW with Gelles Racing but also made a guest appearance in the German Formula BMW and participated in the Formula BMW World Final.
He spent one more year in Formula BMW competitions worldwide, in the US, Asia and Europe, scoring four wins over the season.
German Formula 3 vice-champion in 2008
In 2008, Saavedra moved to Europe to race in the German Formula 3 Championship with HS Technik Motorsport.
Driving the #12 Dallara-Mercedes, he was a race winner three times, at Hockenheim, Assen and Oschersleben, finishing second in the points behind Frederic Vervisch.
Saavedra won four Indy Lights races in three seasons
Rookie of the Year in the 2009 Indy Lights season
In 2009, Saavedra continued his career in the Indy Lights Series with defending championship team AFS-Andretti Green Racing. Driving the #27 Dallara-Infiniti, he finished third in the overall classification and the best among rookies. The champion was his teammate JR Hildebrand.
Saavedra was on a podium seven times, including two victories. He was a race winner two times, first at Kansas Speedway and then on the streets of Toronto.
Sebastian Saavedra at 2010 Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis 500 debut in 2010
For the 2010 Indy Lights season, Saavedra moved to Bryan Herta Autosport, scoring one victory in the #29 car and finishing 8th in the points. With the same team, he made his IndyCar Series debut at Indianapolis 500. After lots of problems during practice and qualifying, including a crash, Saavedra entered the race as the 33rd driver on the grid. His race ended in a single-car crash on lap 159. He was classified 23rd.
Later that year, Saavedra raced in IndyCar series season's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, finishing 16th in Conquest Racing's #36 Dallara-Honda.
First full IndyCar season in 2011
Following his race with Conquest Racing at the end of 2010, Saavedra signed with the team as a full-time driver in the 2011 IndyCar Series season.
He was driving the #34 Dallara-Honda, finishing best in the eleventh place in the Brazilian round at Sao Paulo. He failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. At the end of the season, he was 25th in the points.
Returning to Indy Lights Series in 2012
In 2012, Saavedra rejoined AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport in the Indy Lights series, scoring one victory (Alabama) and five more podiums in the #27 car. He ended the season fourth in the points.
He also made three starts in the IndyCar Series with Andretti Autosport, driving the #17 Dallara-Chevrolet at Indianapolis 500 (26th), Grand Prix of Sonoma (15th) and season's finale at Fontana (21st).
IndyCar season with Dragon Racing in 2013
In 2013, Saavedra returned full-time to IndyCar Series as a driver of Dragon Racing's #6 Dallara-Chevrolet. His teammate in the #7 car was Sebastien Bourdais.
Saavedra's best result was the eighth place at Grand Prix of Baltimore. He recorded one more top 10 result in the second race of Detroit's double-header round. At Indianapolis 500, he crashed out early. At the end of the season, he was 21st in the points.
Sebastian Saavedra at 2014 Grand Prix of Indianapolis
Maiden IndyCar pole position in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis
For the 2014 IndyCar Series, both Saavedra and Bourdais joined KV Racing Technology. Saavedra was driving the #17 Chevrolet, sensationally taking his first pole position in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis at Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course.
Unfortunately, his car stalled at the start of the race, initiating three-car accident. During that season, Saavedra's best result was the ninth place at Long Beach. He was 15th at Indianapolis 500 and 21st in the championship standings.
Sebastian Saavedra was driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2015
Part-time IndyCar schedule in 2015
At the end of 2014, Saavedra lost a full-time seat and return to IndyCar Series on a part-time deal with Chip Ganassi Racing, sharing the #8 Chevrolet with Sage Karam and participating in one race in the #17 Chevrolet.
In total, Saavedra recorded five starts, finishing best in the tenth place at Long Beach. At Indianapolis 500, he was classified 23rd after a crash on lap 176 in which he was injured.
Sebastian Saavedra at 2017 Indianapolis 500
Switching to sports car racing in 2018
He was without a ride in 2016, participating as a guest only in one round of the Global Rallycross Championship, and then returned to IndyCar Series with Juncos Racing at 2017 Indianapolis 500, finishing 15th in the #17 Chevrolet. Later in the season, he was signed to drive the #7 Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, replacing Mikhail Aleshin in three races.
Finding no free seat in the IndyCar Series, Saavedra switched to sports car racing in 2018, joining AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. His car is the #52 Ligier JS P2-Gibson and he is sharing it with another Colombian driver Gustavo Yacaman.