Briscoe to drive for Ganassi in IRL

UPDATE #8 Former Formula One test driver Ryan Briscoe has signed to become Ganassi Racing's third driver in the Indy Racing League in 2005, joining Scott Dixon and Darren Manning. Briscoe, a 23-year-old Australian, was a Toyota test driver the past three F-1 seasons. Indy Star 01/14/05 Rumor has it that the Ganassi team will announce Ryan Briscoe to drive alongside Darren Manning and Scott Dixon on Monday. 01/08/05 We forgot to upgrade this rumor to 'fact' back when the announcement was made. Our Ganassi moles are always spot on. 12/30/04 Ryan Briscoe has lost his shot at Formula One in 2005. The talented young Aussie does not have enough cash to compete in the multi-million dollar lottery for one of the open race places at the Jordan F1 team. Briscoe has the backing of Toyota, which will supply Eddie Jordan's V10 race engines next season, but even that wasn't enough to get him on the grid for the Fosters Australian Grand Prix in March alongside Mark Webber at Williams.

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.

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