Patrick Racing owner U. E. "Pat" Patrick announced today that the team would be powered by Toyota during the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season and that sponsor Visteon Corporation and driver Roberto Moreno have been resigned.
The move to Toyota, a multi-year commitment, ends Patrick Racing's six-year relationship with Ford-Cosworth and comes on the heels of Toyota's most successful season in its five-year CART history. Toyota had a break-through year during the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season with a Toyota -powered driver leading the series in wins and poles. The manufacturer also led a series-high 1023-laps and tied for the series lead in fastest race laps with seven.
"We are very pleased to be associated with such a great company as Toyota," said Patrick. "Obviously, they have dedicated a tremendous amount of resources to make this a very successful program, which was proven on the race track last year. We look forward to contributing and adding to that success in the year's to come," Patrick concluded.
Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports said, "Patrick Racing has, undoubtedly, been one of the elite teams in Champ Car racing since CART's inception in 1979. They finished second in the championship this year and we feel that Toyota can help Patrick Racing to even greater accomplishments in
2001. This past season, a Patrick car finished in the top five in a series-high 16 of 20 races - and that's exactly the type of performance that Toyota needs to help us reach our ultimate goal - the CART Manufacturer's Championship."
The renewal of title sponsor Visteon Corporation to a multi-year contract continues a partnership that was established in 1998. Over the past three years the Visteon/Patrick Racing team has had tremendous success both on and off the track culminating in this year's extraordinary performance by Moreno. Piloting the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing car, Moreno scored Visteon's first series win, led the standings for the first time and, gave the Visteon entry its best finish in the championship standings with a third place showing.
"We are extremely happy to have Visteon Corporation back for the next few years," said Patrick. "We have developed a very strong and successful
partnership with Visteon and look forward to continued success in the years to come."
Visteon Corporation is a leading full-service supplier that delivers consumer-driven technology solutions to automotive manufacturers worldwide and through multiple channels within the global automotive aftermarket. Visteon has a global delivery system of more than 130 technical, manufacturing, sales and service facilities located in 23 countries. It has 81,000 employees working in three business segments: Dynamics and Energy Conversion; Comfort, Communication and Safety; and Glass.
"We are delighted to continue our relationship with Patrick Racing and Roberto Moreno," said Susan Skerker, Visteon Corporation Senior Vice President, Business Strategy and Corporate Relations. "The success of our partnership with our supply partners and Patrick Racing provides a highly effective means to keep Visteon at the forefront of developing innovative technologies."
The rehiring of Moreno for the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season provides the Visteon/Patrick Racing team with one of the most talented and personable drivers in the series. Moreno, a veteran of seven CART campaigns, had a career year last season, his first with Patrick Racing. The 41-year-old Brazilian placed a career high third in the championship standings, led the CART standings for the first time and captured his first CART victory and pole (both at Cleveland). Moreno was among the point's leaders all season dropping out of the top five in the standings only once, after Monterey, and remaining in the top three for most of the season. The Weston, Florida resident finished 14 of 20 races (tied for fourth), each time in the points with 12 top-10 showings (tied for fourth) including eight top five finishes (tied for first) and six podium appearances (tied for second) with one victory (tied for seventh). Moreno finished second in miles (4259.301) and laps (2576) completed and sixth in laps led (146).
"We are very pleased to have Roberto back with the Visteon/Patrick Racing team. His contributions last year were instrumental to the success of the Patrick Racing effort in 2000. Now that he has a year experience racing in a competitive situation he will be even stronger in the coming season," noted Patrick.
"I am very happy to be driving the Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota," said Moreno. "Throughout my career I have spent the off-season looking for sponsors, equipment and teams. It is very gratifying to have everything in place and just have to worry about preparing for next season. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team had a great year last season, but with a little luck and the support of Visteon and Toyota, hopefully we can do two places better this coming season."
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