IndyCar Series Community Helps New Teams Transition to the Sport
The clock is ticking for teams preparing for the 2008 IndyCar Series season that begins on March 29 under the lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
No teams are feeling the deadline as much as the teams from the Champ Car World Series that will be joining the IndyCar Series following the recent announcement of unification. To facilitate a smooth transition, the IndyCar Series has paired existing teams with the former Champ Car World Series teams to provide technical and logistical support.
"The difficulty for any new team to come along at this point, so late in the game, is information or lack of information," said Tony Cotman, vice president of competition for the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series. "If we can give them a starting point, whether it be on a speedway, short oval or road course, just a basic starting point, as a series it's so much better for us because we have less of a split in the field as far as the haves and have nots. In the long run, it's best for us. We'd like to see the whole field within a second. If we can help them get to a point to do that by sharing information through partnering teams, that's what we'll do. The current IndyCar Series teams have been very good about giving the teams information to get them going."
The present pairings*, based on factors such as previous relationships, geographical proximity and similar team size, are:
- Andretti Green Racing-Dale Coyne Racing
- Target Chip Ganassi Racing-KV Racing
- Rahal Letterman Racing-Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
- Vision Racing-Conquest Racing
- A.J. Foyt Racing-Pacific Coast Motorsports
- Team Penske-Walker Racing
- Roth Racing-Team Minardi.
*Note: Not all former CCWS teams listed have committed to the IndyCar Series. When they do commit, this will be their partner team.
"We're working with KV Racing, and that's been a great relationship," Target Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull said. "Certainly a lot of it had to do originally with (KV Racing co-owner) Jimmy Vasser, because (he) has a great history with Chip Ganassi Racing. We won a lot of races together, we won a championship together. We remained friends over the years, so it's a pleasure to work with those guys. That organization is a quality organization, so it blends well for both of us.
"It's tough to define proprietary versus standard information whenever you do anything. We worked with them on delivering a car, building a car to a Ganassi spec to begin to with, and our guys have sat down with their guys on the management level and the engineering level to try to define for them a direction, to help them at Sebring, for the test that they're going to have as well as for the race at Homestead, we'll help to support and answer their questions all the way through the process."
Teams transitioning to the IndyCar Series will test at Sebring International Raceway on March 19-20 and on the Homestead-Miami Speedway under the lights March 24-25.