Vasser to drive 3rd KV Racing Technology entry at Long Beach
KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser confirmed today that he will climb back into the cockpit of an open-wheel car having committed to compete in a third KVRT entry at this year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 18-20 on the streets of Long Beach, California.
Plantronics, which announced last week that they would partner with KV Racing Technology for the 2008 IndyCar Series season, will assume the primary role on Vasser’s car for this race.
Vasser, the 1996 Series Champion, who last drove a Champ Car on April 9, 2006, coincidentally at Long Beach, will drive the KV Racing Technology #12 Plantronics Cosworth/DPO1/Bridgestone entry in what will be the Champ Car World Series final race.
“I been out of the car for two years, but it will be a lot of fun and a great honor to take part in the Champ Car World Series’ final race,” said Vasser. “It will also be great to compete in front of all the southern California fans that have been so supportive of me throughout my career.”
Vasser is one of the most recognized names in all of open wheel racing. The 1996 Series Champion joined KV Racing Technology in the dual roles of owner and driver in 2004. Vasser, who drove Champ Cars for 14 seasons plus one race, owns some of the finest credentials in U.S. open-wheel racing history. In addition to his championship in 1996, the native of California was runner-up in 1998 and placed third in the standings in 1997. Vasser stands among the leaders in most of the career statistical records including wins, 10, podium finishes, 33, poles, nine, laps led, 988, and earnings $12,093,244, (sixth all-time and one of just eight drivers to earn more than $11 million in series competition). He has started 232 Champ Car events (11th all-time) and holds the series record for consecutive starts with 211. A determined and consistent competitor, Vasser was running at the end of 145 of his last 188 starts (dating to Milwaukee in 1995) and finished in the top-10 in 132 of his 232 starts. He was a perennial championship contender having placed in the top-10 in the championship standings in nine of his last 11 seasons. Vasser continues to drive competitively in Sports Car events. Off the track, Vasser is the owner of three auto dealerships, a vineyard in Napa, California and various real estate properties in North America.
Vasser will be making his 16th appearance on the streets of Long Beach. In 15 previous starts he has finished in the top-10 a total of 10 times including five top-five showings with three podiums and a victory in 1996. He has qualified in the top-10 eight times with three starts in the first two rows and a pole in 2002.
The 2008 season marks the sixth season of open-wheel completion and first in the IndyCar Series for KVRT. Apart from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Grand Prix the team is campaigning two full-time entries during the 2008 IndyCar Series season. Oriol Servia is behind the wheel of the KV Racing Technology #5 Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine while teammate Will Power drives the KV Racing Technology #8 Aussie Vineyards – Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry.
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Grand Prix will be an IndyCar Series points paying race although the drivers will compete in Champ Car World Series DP01 chassis with Cosworth power and Bridgestone Potenza tires. Former Champ Car teams and drivers that are transitioning to the IndyCar Series will compete in Long Beach along with a cast of other well known former Champ Car teams and drivers. The remaining IndyCar Series participants will compete the same weekend in the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan. Both the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Grand Prix and Twin Ring Motegi events will award points toward the IndyCar Series championship.