Pantano to make IRL debut, then Champ Car

UPDATE This rumor is now upgraded to 'fact.' See announcement by Target Chip Ganassi team on Hot News page. 08/17/05 Giorgio Pantano will make his IRL IndyCar debut at Sears Point next month with Chip Ganassi Racing, according to an exclusive report in this week's Autosport. The Italian is being drafted in for the Sears Point and Watkins Glen road course events following the team's decision to dismiss Darren Manning. Current stand-in Jaques Lazier is regarded as an oval specialist and is not prepared to take part in the road course events.

Pantano's manager David Sears told Autosport: "I'm renting out Giorgio to my old mate Chip for the Sonoma and Watkins Glen races. He's going to follow in the footsteps of (Juan Pablo) Montoya, (Nicolas) Minassian and (Bruno) Junqueira. We'll see where it might lead for next year.

"Giorgio is also looking at opportunities in F1 and Champ Cars next year. He's been unlucky this season in GP2 with a lot of mechanical problems, so this is a chance for him to prove himself again at the top level."

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