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Luczo Dragon and deFerran Merge

Twice as Strong
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

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Gil de Ferran
LAT Photo

Steve Luczo and Jay Penske, co-owners of Luczo Dragon Racing, and Gil de Ferran, owner of de Ferran Motorsports and former Indy 500 winner, have merged their two businesses to create a new cutting edge motorsport venture that will leverage technology and science to compete at the highest levels of the IZOD IndyCar Series, it was announced today.

De Ferran, the 2003 Indy 500 winner and two-time IndyCar champion, will serve as co-owner, President and Managing Partner of Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports. After spending the last two years as driver and team owner of de Ferran Motorsports in the American Le Mans Series, de Ferran has been focused on bringing his championship experience to the IZOD IndyCar Series. The decision to join forces with Luczo Dragon Racing is based on a desire from both teams to build one of the most advanced and high technology motorsports operations in North America.

“We have been talking to Gil about this for some time and we felt this was the perfect opportunity to combine our resources,” Luczo said. “Gil has the experience of working with major manufacturers and leading racing teams all over the world and we feel we can bring the essential business acumen and managerial expertise to the operation. Our skills are highly complementary and we all have the same vision and ambitions. We’re very excited about the direction of our team.”

The combined skills of the three partners will create a formidable framework around which to operate. Penske, the youngest son of Roger Penske has built up an impressive media and publishing empire while maintaining a close interest in the sport via his young IndyCar team. Luczo is Chairman and CEO of Seagate Technologies and one of America’s most successful businessmen in the field of technology, while de Ferran’s successes are well documented in the world of motorsport as a driver and more recently a team owner.

“Gil and I have known each other for 10 years – when he started racing for my father,” Penske said.  “Gil has always had ambitions outside of the car and Steve and I have been talking to him about working together for some time. Luczo Dragon Racing and de Ferran Motorsports will live together. We all share the same vision for the future in this industry and with our combined skills we are confident that we can make a real success story of this new venture. We have the resources and the knowledge to build a great motorsport organization together.”

“This is a hugely exciting announcement,” de Ferran said. “Our aim is to put together a state-of-the-art motorsports operation with a sharp focus in high technology and developing the science of performance. We have a very talented driver in Raphael Matos who has been a winner at every level he raced and showed great potential already last year, becoming rookie of the year. The foundation is set and with our collective resources and leadership we hope to break new ground and become one of the most competitive teams in the IZOD IndyCar series.”

Luczo Dragon Racing was formed in 2007 with Ryan Briscoe finishing fifth in the Indianapolis 500, the team’s initial race. After a limited schedule in 2008, Luczo Dragon ran a full season in 2009 and claimed the Rookie of the Year title with Matos behind the wheel. De Ferran Motorsports fielded a factory supported Acura in the American Le Mans series in 2008 and 2009. Since its debut half way through the 2008 season, the team won 28% of the races it competed, finished in the top three 61% of the time, was pole position 44% and front row 72%.  In 2009, its first full season the team finished second in the LMP1 Class.

Jay Penske
How long has this been in the works?

Gil and I have been discussing working together for many years. I’d say more active discussions about working together really started in the last year and have been ramping up ever since. Over the last four months Steve, Gil and I came to the realization that in order to put together an effort that could really face the challenges of the current establishment and have a better chance to deliver the successful results we all want we would be best served combining our resources. The more we talked about it the more it made sense.

Knowing Gil as well as you do what does his presence mean to the team and Raphael?
Gil brings an incredible amount of racing experience, technical and process excellence, “in car” understanding and driver coaching and guidance for Rafa. And he’s one of my closest friends.

Gil de Ferran
How do you make up the gap to the dominant teams?
With great difficulty! These teams and their drivers have been dominating the series the last several years and have amassed a huge amount of data with the current IndyCar equipment. In addition, the current testing rules make it difficult for a young team and young driver to make up ground. Despite those challenges, we will do everything possible to make up that deficit. We have plans to invest heavily in simulation technology and will try to build out our engineering capabilities beyond our main rivals.

How many cars will you run?
Right now, we are running one car with Raphael Matos, but are working hard on expanding our program as this will increase our ability to improve and to extend our resources. We hope to have those details ironed out very soon.

Do you plan to expand into other forms of motorsport?
The way we see it, IndyCar is a good fit for our company, which has a strong focus in the science and technology of motorsports. Nevertheless, as I announced in Mid Ohio, we will continue to look into other motorsports activities that are in keeping with our focus.

Steve Luczo
Do you expect any more changes to the team?

Our team will continue to evolve over time.  We have a clear view that technology and science will give us the competitive edge we need to be successful on track.  As we push the envelope to develop new technologies and create new initiatives it is certain the team structure will also develop.

How will you leverage technology?
We all come from a tech background and we will be taking a high tech approach to the business on all fronts.

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