Pagenaud thinks Champ Car will have much success in Europe
Team Australia driver Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01 Champ Car, has been a busy driver ahead of this week’s Champ Car testing at the Mont Tremblant circuit in Quebec, Canada on May 24-25.
After completing a successful test at Mid-Ohio last week, the reigning 2006 Atlantic Champion jetted off to Europe to participate in the final leg of the Champ Car World Series European media tour last Thursday and Friday.
Helping to promote Champ Car’s future in Europe, the young Frenchman took an active part in press conferences in Belgium and his home country of France. Pagenaud was joined by Justin Wilson, Robert Doornbos, Jan Heylen and Sebastien Bourdais in Brussels, and by Tristan Gommendy in Paris.
“We had a very productive media tour to Europe,” said Pagenaud.
“I was really pleased to be invited to go and was surprised by the media interest in Brussels and Paris, we had great attendance. The events in Europe, I believe will be well attended by the fans and it will be two interesting venues for Champ Car in the future.”
Pagenaud got his start racing in Europe, competing in the ELF go-kart series claiming the ELF ACO French title and in 2002 graduated to the French Formula Renault Championship claiming third in the series before making his next step to the World Series by Renault championship in 2005.
With the new allure of the revamped Champ Car Atlantic Championship, Pagenaud made the move to America in 2006 to compete in the Atlantic category. After claiming the 2006 Atlantic title and tucking a year of racing in the U.S. under his belt, the Frenchman finds it extremely crucial for Champ Car’s future to introduce the European race fans to Champ Car racing.
“I think it is crucial for the future strength of the Champ Car World Series to be racing in Europe,” said Pagenaud.
“Our type of racing with the close competition and the differences we have with our pit stops, Cosworth power-to-pass, Bridgestone Alternative tires, the all new DP01 chassis and our standing start system makes our series interesting for the European fans.
Going back to Europe for me will mean something very special because it was a hard decision to leave two years ago, but the program that we have with Team Australia and Champ Car is great and I’m really enjoying American racing I have to say.”
Adding to the excitement of being home, what better way to celebrate the final day of the tour than with a traditional French cake for Pagenaud’s 23rd birthday?
“The cake was a great ending,” said Pagenaud.
“I was surprised. In all honesty I had forgotten that it was my birthday, so I was really surprised. It was a nice end to a positive to trip.”
Pagenaud returned to Indianapolis only one day ago after taking a couple days to visit his friends and family in France. He will fly out again this week but this time joining his team-mate Will Power and the rest of Team Australia as they take part in a two-day test at Mont Tremblant this Thursday and Friday.