Long Beach field looks slim with only 9 cars so far
As "swan songs" go, the last-ever Champ Car race at the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is shaping up to be a dandy!
A blend of veterans and youngsters are among the nine drivers transitioning to the IndyCar Series that are entered in the Long Beach race scheduled at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 20. The nine drivers will be running for IndyCar Series points at Long Beach.
Briton Justin Wilson and hot young American talent Graham Rahal will be driving for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. Wilson was runner-up to Champ Car Series king Sebastien Bourdais the past two seasons while Rahal, ranked fifth in the 2007 points chase, became the youngest driver in history to finish on a Champ Car podium when he was second at Houston last year.
"It's quite fitting that the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which was the first Champ Car race for many of us, will be the last Champ Car event ever," Wilson said. "We're going to have fun there and look to score points and you can be sure there is going to be plenty of action."
KV Racing Technology will campaign cars wheeled by Will Power and Oriol Servia.
Power scored a pair of Champ Car wins in 2007 (Las Vegas, Toronto). Servia, a veteran of eight Champ Car seasons, put on perhaps the drive of the year here at Long Beach when, with virtually no seat time, he replaced the injured Paul Tracy in the Forsythe Racing entry and roared back from starting 14th to finish second!
Dale Coyne Racing will have a decided South American flavor with Brazilians Bruno Junqueira and Mario Moraes behind the wheel. Junqueira will be seeking his ninth career Champ Car win at Long Beach. Moraes was runner-up in the 2006 South American Formula Three Series in 2006.
"I'm very excited about competing in Long Beach for many reasons including a great chance to earn points," said Junqueira. "The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is one of my favorite street tracks, with great crowds and weather. It will be very competitive."
Two Champ Car rookies will carry the Conquest Racing colors at Long Beach.
Franck Perera was the 2007 Atlantic Series Rookie of the Year, notching three wins and finishing second in points. Enrique Bernoldi, an ex-Formula One driver, competed most recently in the StockCar Brazil Series.
HVM Racing will return for one last battle at the beach with Venezuelan rookie Ernesto Viso, who has competed in the European GP2 Series for the past two years.
Further driver announcements for the Champ Car race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach are forthcoming.