Wilson gets out of contract, to replace Bourdais UPDATE #9 This rumor is finally upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
01/28/08 The Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team has called a press conference for 1 PM Tuesday where they will announce their two drivers for 2008. We expect them to be Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson.
01/16/08 According to AutoRacing1.com sources Justin Wilson has found a way to get out of his contract with Dan Pettit so he can drive for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing alongside Graham Rahal, which means the previous rumors of Wilson's move to that team are upgraded to 'strong' as well. This leaves a seat open at Forsythe Racing alongside Paul Tracy.
11/09/07 Justin Wilson and CDW are still being talked about for the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team next year with the McDonald's sponsorship going with Graham Rahal. The NHLR team will once again be the team to beat........
CDW is rumored to be going to NHLR with Justin Wilson in 2008
10/20/07 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. Craig Hampson, Sebastien Bourdais' race engineer, told Autosport.com that he thinks Wilson has a good chance to replace Bourdais at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.
"It's not for me to speak for Mr. Haas, but what I will say is that I'm sure Justin is going to be on his list of potential candidates. Everyone in this team regards Justin as an excellent driver, and someone who we've regarded as a primary competition over the last two or three years.
"Remember, Justin was on our original shortlist to test when we picked Sebastien, but he went for the Minardi Formula One deal. What I'm saying is, we considered him then, and he's now got four years' experience in a Champ Car to add to that. He's a great driver."
"Also, bear in mind we now have Todd Malloy working for us, and he was Justin's race engineer for two years at RuSPORT. He knows how good he is, and knows he's a good guy with a strong work ethic."
"It's an... interesting time for me right now, to be honest. Newman/Haas/Lanigan is where any driver would want to be, so of course I'm looking at that," Wilson told Autosport. "And Champ Car is where I want to be because the racing's good and I have unfinished business here.
"But I've had inquiries from different championships, yes. I can't comment on the Andretti Green Racing rumors because I don't know what's happening there, and I don't want to go and do the ALMS even though I've been linked there.
"It's good to hear that someone like Craig Hampson thinks well of me, sure. We all know he's a great engineer. So of course I hope I'm on Carl Haas's list, yeah. Maybe things will start happening and phone calls will get made when we get back to America." 10/18/07 Graham Rahal wants Englishman Justin Wilson to replace Sebastien Bourdais next year when Rahal's French teammate makes the move to Formula One. RuSPORT driver Wilson is second in the overall standings with 243 points behind Bourdais (301), who can win his fourth consecutive title Sunday.
Wilson may not be back with RuSPORT next year, enabling him to join Rahal on the Newman/Haas/Lanigan team.
"To be honest I think the guy I'd like to see get the shot would be (Justin) Wilson," said Rahal, the son of three-time CART series champion Bobby Rahal.
"The reason he deserves a shot is because he's been patient and he's won races with a team a lot of people wouldn't expect to win races. He's tough to beat. He'd fill in perfectly for Sebastien."
Set to enter Formula One with Toro Rosso in 2008, Bourdais could become the first driver to win the Gold Coast event twice.
It's a statistic brought up every year and one that favors Rahal, an 18-year-old rookie who has never raced on the temporary Surfers Paradise street circuit.
But Rahal has experienced the track — on a video game.
"It sounds cheesy, I'm not a video gamer, but the video game I play, you drive this track in a V-8 Supercar so I've seen the place before," Rahal said. "Nowadays they're so accurate it's amazing. You get the idea of the direction — that's the biggest thing — and where the curve placement is." USA Today 08/13/07 The word from the United States is that Sebastien Bourdais' drive at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing will go to Britain's Justin Wilson. The 29-year-old Sheffield driver, who won the International Formula 3000 title in 2001 broke into F1 in 2003 with Minardi and was then hired in the midseason by Jaguar Racing. At the end of the year he was dropped by Jaguar and, unable to find another F1 ride, went to the United States and raced Champ Cars for Mi-Jack Conquest Racing. He moved on to RuSPORT in 2005 and last year did very well, winning several races and finishing as runner up to Bourdais in the championship.
RuSPORT underwent major changes over the winter months and has failed to be as competitive this year as it was in 2006 and so a move to Newman Haas Lanigan makes sense, not least because Lanigan was a partner at Mi-Jack Conquest when Wilson first arrived there. It is anticipated that Justin's team-mate will be Graham Rahal, who has had a promising but not exceptional first year with the team. Grandprix.com
08/11/07 Vitantonio Liuzzi said today, "I expected to lose my ride at Toro Rosso because the situation inside the team had long worsened," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"My priority is to stay in F1, which is what I dreamt of as a child. I'm in contact with two other teams, otherwise I'll aim to race in America." This agrees with our sources that say his management team had inquired about the Newman/Haas/Lanigan ride.
07/28/07 We hear a lot of drivers and/or their managers are eyeing the open NHLR seat should Bourdais go to F1. A couple of names mentioned besides Scott Speed, were Italian Toro Rosso driver Vitantonio Liuzzi as well as Justin Wilson. Expect to hear many more names once that seat becomes available.
07/27/07 One driver we hear mentioned as a possible replacement for Sebastien Bourdais at NHLR should he move to F1 as rumored is Robert Doornbos. Interestingly his backer, Harry Muermans, was hanging around the Bourdais pit in San Jose Friday morning taking a keen interest in what was going on.