Ferrari to enter Atlantic not Champ Car UPDATE #7 We are now getting reports that although Eurointernational announced they would contest 10 Champ Car races in 2006, a lack of equipment (Lolas) and time will see the team probably field a car in the Champ Car Atlantic series instead with Ryan Sharp as a possible driver. The team will try to move up to Champ Car in 2007.
Sharp is a race car driver born in Newtonhill, United Kingdom on the 29th of April 1979. He raced in a partial season of the 2005 GP2 Series for the Price team and was the 2003 German Formula Renault champion.
Sharp debuted in motorsport in 1999, driving in British Formula First. He moved up to British Formula Ford in 2000, spending two seasons there, before moving to British Formula Renault in 2002 (2002 also saw him drive in one Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup race).
2003 saw his big break, though, as he moved into Europe as a full-time 2000 Eurocup driver. 2003 would also see him drive in part of the Italian Formula Renault season, and in two Formula Renault V6 Eurocup races, but Sharp's 2003 highlight was winning the German Formula Renault championship.
In 2004 he competed in Formula Renault V6 Eurocup for the Jenzer team, moving to the GP2 Series for 2005.10/31/05 Still hearing that Ferrari's first choice for driver remains Italian driver Enrico Toccacelo, assuming he doesn't stay with the recently sold Minardi team, for which he had signed to be a test driver. Drivers with sponsorship interested include Ryan Sharp (Scotland) and Giorgio Mondini (Italy).
Because of the shortage of Lolas, the team will field just one car in 10 races in 2006. They will not waste their money buying more cars for 2006 since their lifespan is just one year. The shortage of cars in 2006 will severely limit Champ Car's ability to grow until 2007. 2007 is shaping up to be Champ Car's big breakout year.
If Chip Ganassi isn't going to run his Lolas in Champ Car next year (we wonder how he feels about getting left out by Toyota in NASCAR and Honda in the IRL) someone needs to get ahold of those cars so teams like Eurointernational can field a 2nd car if they have the sponsorship. We still think Ganassi will run six races, but he should team up with another team to run those cars in the other 10 races.10/19/05 We hear Eurointernational has identified their entire Champ Car staff for next year, at least almost all. Hearing that one engineer is leaving another Champ Car Team by December 1, and will join Eurointernational. Their new Technical Director has just finished work with an F1 team and will be part of the team on November 1, going to Mexico City as his first assignment to "explore the new Series". The two data engineers come from Spain and England, having already worked with Eurointernational the past few years. The team has received two offers from European drivers with a partial budget to race with them the entire season, but Eurointernational is not interested. Antonio Ferrari plans to secure the team's primary sponsorship and choose the driver without any other obligations. Mark C.
09/16/05 Despite signing for Minardi as a test driver this year (see Hot News item) we hear that Enrico Toccacelo now realizes that with Red Bull owning the team his chances of becoming a regular driver are slim and none. Therefore, he is taking a harder look at coming to Champ Car with the Ferrari team, though nothing is signed.
The team has signed a Technical Director (You will be surprised..) and six crew members. Their primary sponsor (major Financial/Bank Group) has several associate sponsors interested to the program, so it is possible that the team can run the entire Championship instead only 10 races in 2006 as originally announced.
09/01/05 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' tonight. See story on home page.... 08/11/05 It looks like Antonio Ferrari's choice of Enrico Toccacelo for his Champ Car team in 2006 may not be available. Enrico Toccacelo was confirmed by Minardi as the squad’s third driver for the remainder of the season. He will become Minardi’s first regular Friday tester. “This is a great opportunity for me, although it has all come together so quickly, I still can’t quite believe it,” Toccacelo admitted. “This is, however, the moment that all young racing drivers are working towards, and I am determined to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can, while doing the best possible job for the team. Minardi has shown many times that it is an excellent place for a driver to start his Formula 1 career, and I intend to make the most of this opportunity.”
08/10/05 As first reported here by AutoRacing1.com, World Series by Renault squad Eurointernational will return to the Champ Car World Series after more than a decade's absence, the team has confirmed to Autosport-Atlas. As we reported and as Autosport-Atlas states - The move is expected to be confirmed at this weekend's Denver race and Ferrari has pledged he will remain in the sport until at least 2009. That is the final year of guaranteed stability on technical regulations that are scheduled to be introduced in 2007.
"I feel my team is now ready to be competitive in Champ Car," Ferrari said. "I feel it is an opportunity. I was planning to do Pan American Formula Renault V6 and I had sponsorship for that and drivers. But that failed.
"Then we worked on a program to have Renault V6 replace Formula Atlantic from 2006 but that failed. Then I could either lose the sponsorship or save the sponsorship by offering something else - and that is Champ Car."
The Champ Car team is likely to start testing next month, possibly with Italian Enrico Toccacelo as the team's driver.
"My first choice is Enrico if he is available," Ferrari confirmed. "Not only because he is from Rome but because he is a great talent and he has a potential sponsor that can help him. If it is not him it will be other European drivers without Champ Car experience.
"Personally think without oval racing is basically a European style of racing. If you have experience of driving with a ground-effect car then there is no magic to Champ Car driving.
"If a guy like Andrew Ranger who was racing against me two years ago in Renault is able to qualify on the second row of the grid in Champ Car I think I know enough drivers that can be good at that level." 08/03/05 AutoRacing1.com has learned that Antonio Ferrari will take his Eurointernational team into Champ Car in 2006 with a one-car team, possibly two. Ferrari will sit down with Champ Car officials in Denver and if appropriate, there will be a major announcement that weekend. We hear the team already has a major sponsorship for 50% of the budget and the plan is to run one or two excellent European drivers. The Eurointernational shops are based in Indy and this team has entered cars in smaller formula series both in North America and abroad in recent years, winning many a race and championship. Their last Champ Car race was Laguna Seca in 1995. The question on our mind is whether the team can get Lolas or will they have to run uncompetitive Reynards for one year. With all new cars due in 2007 would they order new Lolas?. Mark C.