Hearn Motorsports Plans 2006 Open Wheel Expansion LAS VEGAS, Nev., September 14, 2005 -- Richie Hearn (Henderson, Nev.) formed Hearn Motorsports in 2004 to create a training ground for aspiring Champ Car and IndyCar Series drivers. A very ...
Hearn Motorsports Plans 2006 Open Wheel Expansion
LAS VEGAS, Nev., September 14, 2005 -- Richie Hearn (Henderson, Nev.) formed Hearn Motorsports in 2004 to create a training ground for aspiring Champ Car and IndyCar Series drivers. A very successful open wheel racer with victories and pole positions at the pinnacle of the sport, Hearn knows the challenges being faced as drivers progress from go-karting to 220 mph machines. In 2006, Hearn will make the next step in his long-term strategy for his program. The Las Vegas-based operation will expand into two additional series for the new season; the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and the Formula BMW USA Series. Hearn will also maintain his two year-old effort in the Star Mazda Series North American Championship which earned its first Series victory at Mosport International Raceway on September 3rd. The move calls for a substantial expansion of his team and the biggest capital investment made thus far by the organization. Hearn anticipates entering as many as three cars in the Formula BMW USA series, two cars in the Atlantics program and running a minimum two car effort in Star Mazda.
The move will make Hearn's team one of the largest, most comprehensive motorsports support series operations in the country today. With the addition of these series, Hearn could now bring a young driver from a Hearn kart to the top levels of racing. Most of his current staff will roll-over into the new program. Drivers and final crew selections, as well as marketing partners, are currently open.
"From the outside, it might look like we are expanding all at once," said Hearn. "But the truth is, we've been putting this together for quite awhile. The BMW Series is a step below Star Mazda and the Atlantics Series is a step above. By having a presence in Formula BMW USA and the Atlantics, a driver could go from karts, step-by-step, all the way through our program. That completes my training ground with the whole series. I don't think there is anyone else out there that will be able to offer a driver a complete career from starting at age five or whatever, all the way to retirement."
The move to the Champ Car Atlantic Championship is a homecoming for Hearn who dominated the series as a driver in the mid-'90s. As the '95 Atlantic Champion, Hearn progressed up the ladder finishing third in his first Indianapolis 500 and then moving over to the Champ Car Series where he competed until 1999 earning 16 top-ten finishes.
Hearn enthusiastically anticipates the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic season. "I consider the years when I was in Atlantics one of the best times I've had in racing. The cars were fun and the drivers there were great to race with. It is natural to go back and be a part of that in a different capacity. It would be awesome to try and win a championship as an owner having won one as a driver. That would be very satisfying. With the new car and the $2 million worth of sponsorship for the Atlantics' championship, I want to be a part of it."
Running the Atlantic Series, the team will compete principally in support of the Champ Car Series in venues including the most famous street race in the United States, the Long Beach Grand Prix and at traditional road courses such as Portland International Raceway and Monterey, Mexico to go along with dynamic markets such as Denver, San Jose, Calif. and Montreal, Canada.
The Formula BMW USA Series is one of the fastest growing support series in the world today. With BMW-powered formula cars making-up huge grids in support of Champ Car and American Le Mans Series events, the factory-backed, spec-car series is drawing entries and attention from around North America and Europe. Adding to the allure of the series for Hearn is the management and even playing field in the series. Due to the spec cars, the greatest advantage a team can get is through its preparation and driver performance.
"We want to go into the BMW Series to tap into guys coming out of karts," commented Hearn about the addition of the Formula BMW USA program. "I think that Series is the perfect step from karts to cars. It is very professional. I like the cars and think it is a nice package."
Initially debuting Hearn Motorsports in the Star Mazda as a one car team, the six-time Indianapolis 500 starter quickly grew it to a two and then three-car operation. Beyond their Mosport victory this year, Hearn-prepared entries took three of the top-15 spots at this year's season-opening round at Sebring and have earned five career podiums and one pole position to-date in the series. The move into the Champ Car Series ladder system with the Atlantic Championship and the Formula BMW Series is a perfect fit into the long-term business and competition objectives for the team.
"Originally, when I first started the team, I said I'd never want to own an IndyCar or a Champ Car program," commented Hearn on his long-term plans. "But now, doing the Atlantics program, it would be the next natural step. If the right pieces came together I can see me jumping into a higher level after a few years of learning this in the junior levels. With the right package, the right driver and the right funding, I'd like to progress into the higher programs. The ultimate goal would then be to have someone go from the beginning, from our karting program, through to the highest ranks, and do it all the way through our program. It would be challenging to set something like that up but it would definitely be a possibility. Within the last few months, that hasn't become an objective really, but definitely a possibility somewhere down the road."
For more on Hearn Motorsports please visit www.richiehearn.com.