HVM and Minardi enter 3 cars for Long Beach HVM Racing, together with Minardi, will play their part in ensuring the Champ Car World Series enjoys a high-profile send-off, when they field three cars for the 34thAnnual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 18-20.
At the wheel of the #33 PDVSA-HVM Racing entry will be EJ Viso, the team’s full-time driver in the 2008 IndyCar Series. Joining the talented Venezuelan will be popular Frenchman, Nelson Philippe, driving the #4 Minardi-HVM Racing chassis and Brazilian, RobertoMoreno, piloting the #14 Minardi-HVM Racing entry. Entirely fittingly, all three drivers have competed successfully for the team at various stages in its history, and it’s certain that each will be striving to make his mark at this high-profile event.
The 2008 Grand Prix of Long Beach will go down in the history books as the final race of the Champ Car World Series, but at least as significantly for those drivers and teams that have moved to the IndyCar Series this season, the race will provide them with the opportunity to score points on the same basis as their IndyCar rivals, who will also be competing that weekend, but several thousand miles away, in the Bridgestone Indy-Japan, at Twin Ring Motegi. In short, this will provide the “transitioning teams” with a one-off opportunity both to use their DP01 chassis for a final time and to compete on one of the world’s great street courses before rejoining the regular IndyCar schedule for a succession of ovals.
EJ Viso is coming off an impressive drive at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, having led the race for 11 laps and finishing 4th. He is currently ranked 8th in the IndyCar Series Championship standings and 2nd in the highly competitive Bombardier LearJet Rookie of the Year title battle. This will be EJ’s first race in the DP01, although he is familiar with the car, having spent four days testing at Sebring International Raceway this past winter with the HVM squad.
EJ Viso: "I am looking forward to Long Beach and thrilled to attend this "historic" last Champ Car race. It will be a tough one for me as I don't know much of the DP01 except for the two tests I ran with the team, and I have not raced on this circuit before. The competition will be stiff with many drivers entering this event on a one-off basis, but it makes it more exciting for the fans and more challenging for me. The team knows the circuit and has an excellent track record with the car, so we should do well and hopefully improve on our excellent result in St-Petersburg."
Nelson Philippe will be back with the team (then called CTE Racing-HVM) that helped him score his single Champ Car World Series win, at Surfers Paradise, in 2006. He will go down in history as the youngest driver to win a Champ Car race at that event. Nelson finished 4th in the Championship that year, backing up his victory in Australia with two additional podiums and six further top-10 finishes. He also competed in the final two races of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season at the wheel of a DP01. Long Beach was Nelson’s Champ Car debut in 2004 in which he became the youngest driver to ever start a Champ Car race (17 years, 8 months, 11 days).
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