Newman/Haas Daytona 24 Effort in the Works?

UPDATE #3 According to this Indy Star article, Cristiano da Matta might drive with the team as well…..possibly another hint he is driving for Newman/Haas in Champ Car in 2005. 12/15/04 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact.' Paul Newman will team up in February’s Daytona 24 Hours with the two drivers who race for his Champ Car squad. Newman, who turns 80 before the race, will drive with Champ Car title winner Sébastien Bourdais and fellow Newman-Haas racer Bruno Junqueira in the US classic. They will share a Ford-powered Crawford DP03 with long-time Newman partner Michael Brockman. They will drive a car hired from expatriate Brit Chris Hall’s Silverstone Racing Services team. It will be run by personnel from both Silverstone and Crawford. Max Crawford, whose DP03 design led much of last year’s race, said: “It will be pretty cool to have Paul in one of our cars. Our whole team is motivated by this." Newman, who raced a FABCAR in this year’s race, was due to drive the car for the first time at the Kershaw test track in South Carolina yesterday (Wednesday). Autosport Magazine 12/13/04 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, First it was Paul Tracy and now it's Newman/Haas, what are these people thinking? Why on earth would they go over and help put on a better show for the exact people who are trying to put them out of business? First, Champ Cars were run out of the oval business by NASCAR and now it's obvious that NASCAR is hoping to build up their Grand-Am series to take over the road racing side of things in the U.S. So far, they haven't been successful even though the racing is pretty good, but if you bring over the biggest names from Champ Car to the 24 Hours, then all you're doing is helping to make Daytona a bigger show and draw more attention. Now I know why CART went out of business. The people involved didn't have any foresight and it looks like some of the Champ Car ranks don't have much either. Richard G. Springfield, Ohio Dear Richard, Did you stop to think that perhaps Champ Car is trying to mend broken fences with the France family, fences that should never have been broken in the first place? Stop and think of the positive ramifications of that. Mark C. 12/12/04 In an article posted on the LeMans official website, 2004 Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais mentioned Newman/Haas was looking into putting a Daytona Prototype program together for the 2005 Daytona 24. The chassis and engine have been chosen; but Bourdais wasn’t sure if the team could have everything ready by February. At the time of the interview Bourdais thought the project had a 50% chance of coming to fruition for the 24.

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