Instead, Briscoe is expected to accept a next-best offer to join the crack Chip Ganassi team in the Indy Racing League in the United States for 2005. His program will include the classic Indianapolis 500 race.
He would slide in alongside New Zealander Scott Dixon at a team which has won major American open-wheel championships with Dixon, Alex Zanardi and Juan Pablo Montoya. Zanardi and Montoya both used victory with Ganassi in the US as a springboard into F1.
"Yes, I have been to the US. Yes, I have tested with Ganassi," Briscoe said this week. "But I cannot talk about my plans for next year. Not yet."
Briscoe is on holidays in Sydney with his family and Italian girlfriend, and his deal is likely to be announced in the US in January. But he has been gagged by the team, and Toyota, until they are ready to release details of his program.
Still, the move to the US is an open secret and will ensure Briscoe keeps his ties to Toyota, which supplies engines to Ganassi's Target-sponsored team. It could even include a clause which takes him back to its F1 team in a couple of years. Briscoe has been groomed for GP racing by Toyota since he was a youngster in go-karts and he was the first graduate of the Toyota Driver Academy which operates from its F1 headquarters at Cologne in Germany. He has been an F1 test driver with the Japanese carmaker for the past two years. Herald Sun
12/01/04 Our Ganassi moles tell us Australian Ryan Briscoe has indeed signed with the team. We await the official announcement. Yet another foreigner for the supposedly "American" Indy Car series. We think it's time for those short track drivers to burn those "Road to Indy" hats. It's amazing how Tony George snowballed the entire dirt track industry into thinking they were the Road to Indy. All they got were silly hats and broken promises. 12/01/04 Toyota protégé Ryan Briscoe, who had been expected to land a Formula 1 drive with either Jordan or Minardi next season, has moved into pole position for the third IRL IndyCar Series seat at Target Ganassi Racing alongside Scott Dixon and Darren Manning. Briscoe tested for two days on the road course at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix and then two days on the oval at Phoenix International Raceway. Autosport Magazine 11/30/04 Our sources in Indy are telling us that word on the street is that Ryan Briscoe will drive a third Chip Ganassi car in the IRL in 2005 with backing from Toyota. Mark C. 11/29/04 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today and may soon go to 'false.' According to this TSN.ca article, Ryan Briscoe has apparently broken off talks with Jordan about a possible Formula One ride in 2005. Briscoe was set to test with the team this week in Jerez, Spain but pulled out after talks with Eddie Jordan failed to reach an advanced stage, according to Autosport magazine. Briscoe was rumored to be on the list of driver candidates following Jordan's deal with manufacturer Toyota to use their engines in 2005. Briscoe is supported by Toyota and was part of the Formula One team's test team this past season. The Australian is now reportedly considering his options outside of Formula One for 2005 which may include the Indy Racing League, which is supported by Toyota. [Editor's Note: Depending on how his contract is worded with Toyota, he should be going to Champ Car, which actually races where Ryan calls home – Australia. Does he really want to become an oval track driver after developing as a road racer? We can see him in Champ Car racing, a far better option for his career than as a F1 test driver. Hmm……] 11/28/04 Toyota test driver Ryan Briscoe is rumored to be testing for the Jordan Grand Prix team this coming week, during the same test as Dutch DTM driver Christijan Albers, who was behind the wheel of a Minardi earlier this week. This will be Jordan’s first test session since the end of the 2004 season. They will test from Wednesday to Saturday with an interim chassis powered by the 2004 spec Cosworth engines. Jordan will run Toyota engines in 2005 and it's rumored that part of that deal with Toyota is for Ryan Briscoe to be one of the Jordan drivers in 2005.