Viso and Battistini to test for Minardi Team USA
Just three weeks after the final race of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season in Mexico City, Minardi Team USA will be in action again next Monday and Tuesday, at Sebring International Raceway, when it tests two up-and-coming young drivers. Former GP2 driver, Ernesto Viso, and Asia Pacific F3 Champion, Dillon Battistini, are both looking for a full-time seat in the Series in 2008, and will have their first experience of the Champ Car DP01 chassis at the Florida track. The pair arrived in Indianapolis on Thursday for their seat fittings, as well as meet-and-greets with the engineers and crew.
Twenty-two year-old Ernesto Viso, from Venezuela, has spent the last two years in the highly competitive GP2 Series, finishing sixth in the overall standings in 2006, and taking a win at that season’s Imola round. He combined his GP2 duties with testing for the Spyker F1 team. He is looking forward to his first taste of driving a Champ Car, after having been an interested spectator at the Series’ season finale, in Mexico City, earlier this month.
“I’m very excited for this test and am looking forward to working with everyone at Minardi Team USA. I am sure it will be a very productive test and we can then evaluate our options for next year. I think it would be a positive move for me and my career to be in Champ Car in 2008, and hopefully that will happen.”
Dillon Battistini is the reigning Asia Pacific F3 Champion, having won five races and capturing four additional podiums on his way to the title. Prior to this, the British driver finished fourth overall in the Asian Formula 3 Championship with five podiums. His goal is to race in America in 2008, with his first choice - naturally – being the Champ Car World Series.
”After a few years in F3, I am looking to progress to something different for next season so I am excited about the potential that this test has for my career. This is a very exciting opportunity for me. Champ Car is obviously a step up from what I have been doing for the last couple of seasons but, despite my successes in F3, I didn’t expect to be given the chance to test a DP01 Champ Car quite so soon. I am very grateful to my backers and Asian Formula 3 for giving me the chance to run at Sebring and I hope to do a good job for them in return for their faith in me. Minardi Team USA is a front runner in Champ Car, Keith Wiggins and Paul Stoddart run a great team with two wins and five other podiums in 2007 showing just what the team can achieve. I’m looking forward to and honored to be joining them at Sebring. I know Sebring is famous for its bumps and for being fast, but I have proved I’m a fast learner and I hope to show that next week.”
Keith Wiggins, Team Co-owner:
“We are looking forward to giving these two young drivers a run in our cars. They are both looking at Champ Car for 2008 and we will give them their first taste of these exciting cars.”