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Red Bull Cheever team hires CART driver Papis for 500

April 26, 2002

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 26, 2002) - Experienced open-wheel racer Max Papis will drive the No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti in the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26, team officials announced today. Papis will join Indy Racing League regulars Eddie Cheever Jr. and Tomas Scheckter at Red Bull Cheever Racing.

"We feel we have put together the strongest team of drivers to contend for victory at this year's Indianapolis 500," team general manager Richard Caron said. "This race is the cornerstone of the Red Bull Cheever Racing program, so we will be happy with nothing less than a victory. Eddie, Tomas and Max all have what it takes to win this race."

Papis, 32, will drive the Dallara chassis with the same dynamic blue Red Bull paint scheme found on the No. 51 car driven by Cheever, the team's owner and driver, and the No. 52 car of Scheckter. All three cars will be powered by the Infiniti Indy V8 engine and use Firestone tires.

Papis, a veteran road racer, will be a classified as a rookie in the Indianapolis 500, his first IRL event. He will team with Cheever, who won the Indy 500 in 1998 and was the race's rookie of the year in 1990.

"Although Max will be considered a rookie, he has shown the correct mix of courage, focus and talent in races on the large speedways of Michigan and California," Cheever said. "This experience will be valuable as he prepares for the unique challenge of competing in the Indianapolis 500."

Papis, who won the Rolex 24 at Daytona earlier this year, is currently fifth in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship standings heading into this weekend's race at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.

"I'm honored to have been chosen by Red Bull Cheever Racing to be part of their lineup for the Indianapolis 500," Papis said. "I'm also thrilled to be competing on the most celebrated oval track in the world. Many champions of the past and the present raced in Indy. It's the one professional experience that you just can't miss in a career in racing."

Papis, who resides in Miami Beach, Fla., led a total of 427 laps in his last six superspeedway races -- more than double the total of the closest driver, Michael Andretti. He had near victories at Michigan International Speedway in 1999, when he was leading before running out fuel on the final turn, and at California Speedway in 2001, when he finished second by .007 of a second.

"At Indy I am looking forward to applying my superspeedway experience to capture the win at the world's most prestigious 500-mile race," Papis said. "I will race at Indy knowing that -thanks to the support of the Red Bull Cheever Racing team - I will have a strong opportunity that I am ready to grab. I have prepared myself physically, mentally and with a great will to succeed."

Before moving to the United States to race in 1996, Papis competed in seven Formula One races for Team Arrows, earning a best finish of seventh in the 1995 Italian Grand Prix. Born in Como, Italy, Papis began his career in karts, Formula 3 and Formula 3000.

Red Bull Cheever Racing, based in Indianapolis, is the brainchild of 1998 Indy 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. A leader in American motorsports, the Indy Racing League team is built on Cheever's experience in Formula One, sports cars and open-wheel oval racing. Corporate and technical partnerships with the world's leading energy drink, Red Bull, Nissan North America's Infiniti Division, TWR Group and Lincoln Financial Group greatly enhance the team's resources and technology. For more information, visit

Biography: Max Papis

Birthdate: October 3, 1969 (Como, Italy)

Nationality: Italian
Residence: Miami Beach, Fla.
Ht./Wt.: 6'0"/172 lbs.

Team: Red Bull Cheever Racing
Car: No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone

IRL Races: 0
IRL Status: Rookie

Career Highlights

. Won the 2002 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona
. Won three races in the FedEx Championship Series (Miami-2000; Portland
and Laguna Seca-2001)
. Raced in seven Formula One races in 1995, with a best finish of
seventh in the Italian Grand Prix

Racing Career

Won the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a Dallara-Judd of Doran Racing with
Mauro Baldi Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard.  Currently drives in CART for the Sigma team

Max drove his Miller Lite Ford Lola to a six-place finish in the CART
FedEx championship. Max won two races (Portland from the Pole and
Laguna Seca) and scored two runner-up finishes in Germany and Fontana
(CART's closest finish - 0.007 sec.). Max is one of the only five
drivers to score multiple victories and in his six superspeedway races
he led 427 laps - over double of the nearest driver, Michael Andretti.
Max drove in Daytona for the Rolex 24 hours with Team Dyson, but an
engine failure cut short the team effort to win the race.

Drove Team Rahal's Miller Lite Ford Reynard with ups and downs due to 12
mechanical problems. Scored his first CART victory in Homestead-Miami
Speedway at the season opener and scored a second place in Detroit.
Finished 14th in the FedEx CART Championship Series. Named to the
inaugural five-driver CART "All-Star" team in 1999. Max Papis raced and
won the 2000 Rolex Daytona 24 Hours - Sports car division with Team

Drove the Miller Lite Ford Reynard to a tremendous "breakout" season in
1999 in his first year with Team Rahal and fourth season overall en
route to a career-best fifth-place finish in the CART FedEx point
Scored 11 top-five finishes in 20 starts, including consecutive
career-best runner-up efforts at Australia and Fontana and third at
Laguna Seca. Awarded the "Golden Helmet" as Italy's best driver in the
world for 1999. Also recorded his first career FedEx Championship
Series pole position in the inaugural race at Chicago Motor Speedway.
Recorded points in 14 of 20 races overall, including nine of 11 races.
Just missed his first CART win at Michigan, which saw him run out of
fuel one turn from the checkered flag after leading 143 of 250 laps.
Led the FedEx Series in laps and miles completed and finished second in
laps led. Was running at the finish in a series-high of 18 of 20 races.
Drove in the 24 Hours of Daytona with Jimmy Vasser and Stefan Johansson
in a Ferrari 333SP, finishing third.

Driving for the Arciero-Wells MCI team in CART, finished 20th in the
FedEx point standings with a career-best fifth at Houston. The
fifth-place finish was also the best ever for a Toyota-powered car. Won
pole and led 18 of 24 hours at 24 Hours of Daytona. Announced on August
31 that he will replace three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal in the
Miller Lite Reynard/Ford Cosworth for Team Rahal in 1999.

Drove for the Arciero-Wells MCI team in 17 CART events and scored a
season-best eighth at the U.S. 500 in Michigan. Placed 24th in the
final CART standings. Placed third at 24 Hours of Le Mans for Ferrari
in the P1 Class and sixth overall.

Joined the Arciero-Wells team for the final four races of the CART
season, scored a season-best ninth at Road America. Finished second in
the IMSA World Sports Car championship (MOMO Ferrari) and won three
races (Road Atlanta, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen), four pole positions
and set eight new track records.

Drove in seven Formula One events for Team Arrows and recorded a seventh
at his home track of Monza in the Italian Grand Prix.

Finished fifth in the International Formula 3000 point standings for
Team Mytos. Drove Reynard/Judd machine to the pole and the victory at
the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Served as the test driver for
Miller-sponsored Team Lotus (drivers Johnny Herbert and Alex Zanardi)
and Team Ligier-Renault.

Finished tenth in the drivers' championship in his inaugural season in
the International Formula 3000 series driving for Team Vortex, March
Formula One Junior team. Placed fourth in his first race at Donington
Park in England.

Finished in top-five in the Italian Formula Three championship for the
factory VW-team, Piemme Motors. Won from the pole at Vallelunga and
placed fifth at Monaco. Scored five other top-five finishes.

Finished seventh in the Italian Formula Three drivers standings for Team
Venturini. Recorded victories at Monza and Binetto.

Driving for Euroteam Marlboro in the Italian Formula Three series for
his first full season and scored three top-six finishes. Best finish
was fifth at Monza.

Started his car racing career for R3 Racing in the Italian Formula Three
series with teammate Alex Zanardi. Ran a partial season with best
finish eighth at Pergusa.

Competed in Formula Monza series as well as on the Italian National
Karting team.

Driving on the Italian National Karting team, captured the prestigious
Intercontinental Championship race in the Hong Kong streets over the
likes of Alex Zanardi and Michael Schumacher. Won the pole in the
European Karting Championship.

1982 to 1986
Drove for the Italian National Karting team. Competed in two World
Championship events and three European Championship races.

Began his racing career in Italy in karts in the Junior Class.

Full name is Massimiliano Papis. Nicknamed "Mad Max" for his late-race
charges in IMSA sports car racing. Has a degree in Political Science
from Milan University. Moved from Italy to California in 1997 and then
to Miami in 1999 after joining Team Rahal. A life-long skiing
enthusiast who grew up 15 minutes from the Swiss border and got into the
sport at age four. Also enjoys playing tennis and surfing. Has an
intense physical fitness program, which includes a team of four doctors.
Has a younger sister (29) and brother (27).

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