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
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
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)
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
. Won the 2002 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona
. Won three races in the FedEx Championship Series
and Laguna Seca-2001)
. Raced in seven Formula One races in 1995, with a best finish
seventh in the Italian Grand Prix
Won the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a Dallara-Judd of Doran
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
FedEx championship. Max won two races (Portland from the Pole
Laguna Seca) and scored two runner-up finishes in Germany and
(CART's closest finish - 0.007 sec.). Max is one of the only
drivers to score multiple victories and in his six
he led 427 laps - over double of the nearest driver, Michael
Max drove in Daytona for the Rolex 24 hours with Team Dyson,
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
Speedway at the season opener and scored a second place in
Finished 14th in the FedEx CART Championship Series. Named to
inaugural five-driver CART "All-Star" team in 1999. Max Papis
won the 2000 Rolex Daytona 24 Hours - Sports car division with
Drove the Miller Lite Ford Reynard to a tremendous "breakout"
1999 in his first year with Team Rahal and fourth season
route to a career-best fifth-place finish in the CART FedEx
Scored 11 top-five finishes in 20 starts, including
career-best runner-up efforts at Australia and Fontana and
Laguna Seca. Awarded the "Golden Helmet" as Italy's best
driver in the
world for 1999. Also recorded his first career FedEx
Series pole position in the inaugural race at Chicago Motor
Recorded points in 14 of 20 races overall, including nine of
Just missed his first CART win at Michigan, which saw him run
fuel one turn from the checkered flag after leading 143 of 250
Led the FedEx Series in laps and miles completed and finished
laps led. Was running at the finish in a series-high of 18 of
Drove in the 24 Hours of Daytona with Jimmy Vasser and Stefan
in a Ferrari 333SP, finishing third.
Driving for the Arciero-Wells MCI team in CART, finished 20th
FedEx point standings with a career-best fifth at Houston. The
fifth-place finish was also the best ever for a Toyota-powered
pole and led 18 of 24 hours at 24 Hours of Daytona. Announced
31 that he will replace three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal
Miller Lite Reynard/Ford Cosworth for Team Rahal in 1999.
Drove for the Arciero-Wells MCI team in 17 CART events and
season-best eighth at the U.S. 500 in Michigan. Placed 24th in
final CART standings. Placed third at 24 Hours of Le Mans for
in the P1 Class and sixth overall.
Joined the Arciero-Wells team for the final four races of the
season, scored a season-best ninth at Road America. Finished
the IMSA World Sports Car championship (MOMO Ferrari) and won
races (Road Atlanta, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen), four pole
and set eight new track records.
Drove in seven Formula One events for Team Arrows and recorded
at his home track of Monza in the Italian Grand Prix.
Finished fifth in the International Formula 3000 point
Team Mytos. Drove Reynard/Judd machine to the pole and the
the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Served as the test driver
Miller-sponsored Team Lotus (drivers Johnny Herbert and Alex
and Team Ligier-Renault.
Finished tenth in the drivers' championship in his inaugural
the International Formula 3000 series driving for Team Vortex,
Formula One Junior team. Placed fourth in his first race at
Park in England.
Finished in top-five in the Italian Formula Three championship
factory VW-team, Piemme Motors. Won from the pole at
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
his first full season and scored three top-six finishes. Best
was fifth at Monza.
Started his car racing career for R3 Racing in the Italian
series with teammate Alex Zanardi. Ran a partial season with
finish eighth at Pergusa.
Competed in Formula Monza series as well as on the Italian
Driving on the Italian National Karting team, captured the
Intercontinental Championship race in the Hong Kong streets
likes of Alex Zanardi and Michael Schumacher. Won the pole in
European Karting Championship.
1982 to 1986
Drove for the Italian National Karting team. Competed in two
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
charges in IMSA sports car racing. Has a degree in Political
from Milan University. Moved from Italy to California in 1997
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
intense physical fitness program, which includes a team of
Has a younger sister (29) and brother (27).
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