'Speedy Dan' Clarke flush with sponsorship for Vegas Dan Clarke returns to Champ Car competition this weekend, taking his place in Minardi Team USA for the first of sixteen rounds in this premier race series which will visit the USA, Canada, China, Australia and Europe.
The young Brit debuted in the Series last year and quickly made an impression with his feisty, flamboyant style and flashes of brilliance early in his rookie season. As the racing progressed it was soon evident that Clarke, widely known as Speedy Dan, would quickly reach the podium. After knocking at the door of a top three placing in three races less than halfway through the championship, he finally won through and was the first of the rookies to take a trophy, with a third place in Denver, and the first to take a pole position.
In his second year of competition Clarke is anticipating more fierce competition and hard racing. Concluding a deal last week has meant that the 23-year-old Englishman will drive the new Panoz DP01 champ car for the first time in practice on Friday at the Las Vegas street circuit.
He says, ““There’s been only one thing missing from my preparations for the new season, and that’s driving the new Champ Car. But I don’t see this as such a major problem. I’ve been close to the team over the winter, trained hard and worked at every aspect of my race program that I’ve been able to do without testing. Continuing with a team that I worked with last year and my experience of the championship will stand me in good stead for Las Vegas and I go there without any pressure, just focusing on myself and the team.”
“I visited Vegas in September 2005. It was my first experience of Champ Cars, with a trip to the oval race to open discussions about racing in the Series, so I remember the place well. It’s great to be returning as a driver, and I’m expecting the street race to be a huge spectacle. For me, I think I need to have the tortoise and hare approach. I don’t think anyone is sure quite what to expect from the track or the car, and with the new Panoz and a long race distance, the most important thing is to be there at the end. Exercising caution, taking care of the car, and building momentum as the weekend progresses is my plan, no gambling for me!”
Speedy Dan will be in action on track at 8.50am local time in Las Vegas with the first practice session of the weekend. Provisional qualifying follows at 2.00pm, with final practice and qualifying on Saturday and the green flag for the Las Vegas Grand Prix falling at 1.00pm on Sunday, 8 April.
Clarke’s #4 Minardi Team USA Panoz DP01 will race in Las Vegas with the support of Ticketmaster; Mirage, Las Vegas; Synapse Power; and The Australian Pink Floyd Show, with ‘Imagine’ as the chosen charity for the Brit’s 2007 Champ Car campaign.