Coyne confirms Junqueira and Moraes
Dale Coyne Racing announced that drivers Bruno Junqueira and Mario Moraes will compete on the diverse set of ovals and road/street circuits this season, beginning with the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 29. Dale Coyne Racing, which is marking its 25th year in Indy-car racing, is the fourth Champ Car World Series team that is transitioning to the IndyCar Series.
"Coming over here, the top three teams have set the bar and they will maintain that level all year," Coyne said, referring to Team Penske, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Green Racing. "I think it will be difficult for any team to be able to crack through those three teams in the first year. But that's the challenge we enjoy.
"Somebody talked (recently) about the things I've done – whether it was when I was a driver, an owner, working with rookies or building a racetrack -- and asked how would I describe myself. I said I'm just a racer. This is what I do; this is what I love. Even the businesses I've done away from racing have been to support the racing program. This has been my life and what I do."
Junqueira has competed in four Indianapolis 500s, starting from the pole in 2002 with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and raced on a number of ovals during his years in Champ Cars. He was the series runner-up in 2002 and '03.
"This season brings new challenges – a new series, new car, new tracks – but at the end of the day, everybody is starting from scratch," he said. "I love the ovals and really look forward to getting back to Indy. Dale and I both have some unfinished business to do there."
Having Junqueira behind the wheel will be an asset on the 11 ovals – to the team and his young teammate.
"With Bruno, we have a driver who can be very competitive," Coyne said. "We have new challenges in front of us with the new cars and circuits, but he's got some oval experience and we just have to get after it and get as competitive as we can as quickly as we can."
Junqueira and Moraes are getting in their first laps in the Nos. 34 and 36 cars during two days of testing on the Sebring International Raceway course. They'll get additional testing time on the Homestead-Miami Speedway oval March 24-25.
Moraes, 19, also from Brazil, last year competed in the British Formula 3 International Series with a best finish of fifth. In 2006, he finished second in the South American F3 standings.
"He was looking to come to the States to run Champ Car," Coyne said. "We tested him a couple of times at Sebring. He tested very well. While he's young and doesn't have the depth of resume a lot of people have, I think he will acclimate himself well to these cars and to ovals."
Moraes is looking forward to proving himself in the high-performance and nimble cars.
"There's going to be a strong championship; you have so many good drivers on the track," Moraes said. "I've never been on an oval, so that will be an experience. With Bruno, he's going to help us develop a lot. Everybody is going to help us." IndyCar.com