Delphi to sponsor Panther Racing
Panther Racing announced that its No. 4 entry will be sponsored by Delphi Corporation for the next two seasons. The partnership comes as both Panther and Delphi are entering their 10th season of involvement in the IndyCar Series.
"We've known the great folks at Delphi for a long time now and we're honored that they've become a partner with Panther Racing," team co-owner John Barnes said. "Our team knows that this is the kind of boost we needed to get Vitor Meira to the front of the championship chase. We had a great run together last year, and we've got even bigger plans with Delphi for 2007 and 2008. Both Panther and Delphi have been winning races in this series for 10 years, and now it's time to win some together."
Panther made its debut in the IndyCar Series in 1998 with Scott Goodyear, the same year Delphi became the primary sponsor with Kelley Racing and driver Scott Sharp. Since entering the league, Panther has won a total of 15 races with Goodyear, Sam Hornish Jr. and Tomas Scheckter, while Delphi collected eight race wins with Sharp.
"We are very excited to be joining Panther racing this year. The team has been a consistent winner throughout its history and we look forward to a championship run," said Bill Lafontaine, Delphi Corporate Director - Integrated Marketing Services. "With Delphi's technological leadership and Panther's engineering expertise, we believe that 2007 will be a very successful year for the team."
Meira finished fifth in the championship last year and experienced his most successful season in the league. After joining Panther shortly before the season started, the 29-year-old Brazilian went on a tear, finishing the year with 12 Top-Ten and seven Top-Five finishes, a stretch that included six podiums. It was Panther's best season since 2003, when the team finished fifth in the points and won three races.
"I'm so happy that Delphi has become a part of the Panther family and sponsored the No. 4 Honda for this season," Meira said. "The Delphi car is a successful and important part of IndyCar Series history and I'm honored to be given this opportunity. It gave me goose bumps the first time the car got painted in the shop and I saw the No. 4 on the wing. We know we had a great season last year, but we've brought back all our guys and we continue to get stronger with every lap."