Franck Perera to drive #41 for Foyt at Chicagoland
Franck Perera will audition for a potential 2009 IndyCar Series ride at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend in the No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda-powered Dallara for A.J. Foyt Racing.
Perera, 24, has made nine Firestone Indy Lights starts in the No. 55 CJ Consulting Guthrie Racing car since June, posting one victory (Infineon Raceway road course from the pole) and four top-10 finishes. He competed in the first two IndyCar Series races of the season car before sponsorship issues forced him out of the No. 34 Conquest Racing car.
Team director Larry Foyt brought the French driver to his father's attention as the team begins scouting for a driver for a possible second car in 2009.At the beginning of the year, I noticed that Franck was one of the quickest among the transition team drivers to adapt to the IndyCars," Larry Foyt said. "He fared well on the oval in Homestead (started 13th and finished 14th) and qualified well (10th) at St. Pete. We thought then that he was a talented driver and, as we're looking to become a two-car team next year, we thought he might be a good asset to our program. We'll see how we get along with him this weekend."
Perera will have veteran Darren Manning, driving the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. car, as his teammate.
"Coming from European racing, I have really enjoyed racing in America and this is where I want to stay," Perera said. "After Conquest lost their team sponsor for me earlier this season, I turned down a drive in Europe because I wanted my future to be in IndyCars. So I joined Guthrie Racing to learn more about the ovals and to stay in the Indy Racing League with the hope of returning to the IndyCar Series in the future.
"I especially want to thank CJ Motorsport, who gave me the chance to continue racing after the Toyota Driver Development Program. With the series merger, it's been a tough year for many drivers like me, so I'm very thankful that Foyt Racing and ABC Supply are giving me this incredible opportunity to be in the final IRL race in Chicago this weekend. I will do my best to help the team and Darren get the best results for the last race of 2008."
Foyt will bring in the same crew that worked on the No. 41 ABC Supply entry in the 92nd Indianapolis 500 in May for driver Jeff Simmons. It will be headed by longtime A.J. Foyt Racing team manager Craig Baranouski.
"I thought Franck did a good job in the couple of IndyCar races he ran earlier and he's been impressive in the Indy Lights Series this year," team owner A.J. Foyt said. "I want to see how he jells with our team."