TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING SIGNS ALEX LLOYD AS DEVELOPMENT DRIVER
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 17, 2007) -- Chip Ganassi Racing announced today the addition of young driving standout and 2007 Indy Pro Series Champion, Alex Lloyd to the team's Driver Development Program. Lloyd, a native of Manchester, England joins the team after a record setting Indy Pro Series season that saw him dominate the field with eight wins and five poles positions.
The team is in the developing process of the complete 2008 plan for Lloyd but it most likely it will include some combination of IndyCar Series races, Grand Am races and a great deal of testing
In August 2007, with permission from his Indy Pro Series team, Sam Schmidt Motorsport, the Target IndyCar team invited Lloyd to participate in a team test at Sebring International Raceway with IndyCar driver Scott Dixon. Lloyd was given the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an IndyCar for the first time and was able to set lap times that were comparable to Dixon's.
The team was so impressed by the 22 year-old driver's abilities that when the opportunity arose for a driver to join the Rolex Grand Am Sportscar race at Infineon Raceway in August, it was Lloyd that was called upon once more.
"Alex has not only proved himself this season in the Indy Pro Series races but we were also able to evaluate him first hand at our test in Sebring and subsequently liked him even more," said Target Chip Ganassi Racing Managing Director Mike Hull. "He is a talented driver and a perfect candidate for our development program. In the span of ten days, he took the wheel of two very different race cars for the first time. He showed at Sebring that he is ready to race an Indycar, and then at Infineon Raceway for the Grand Am event, proved under race conditions, that his skills were immediately equal to the best drivers in the very competitive high horsepower Daytona Protoypes."
I am thrilled to be racing for Target Chip Ganassi Racing and would like to thank Chip and his team for giving me this opportunity," said Lloyd. "I have always regarded the team as one of the best in all of motorsport and for me to now be a part of that is very exciting and a dream come true. I am looking forward very much to working with Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon. These are two of the top guys in the series and I know I can learn a lot from them."
Lloyd had a successful stint in the UK Formula Renault Championship in 2003 where he finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton, tested with the F1McLaren team, and earned three poles and a win in just seven Formula 3000 race in 2005.
The young Brit joined AFS Racing in 2006 for his first Indy Pro Series race on the streets of St Petersburg's where he qualified on the front row and earned a podium finish. While an ear infection took Lloyd out of two races in the middle of the year, that didn't stop the young driver from posting his and AFS Racing's first win at the F1 support race on the Indianapolis road course, and then another win on the Infineon road course in Sonoma, California.
In 2007, Lloyd joined front-running Sam Schmidt Motorsports, and promptly dominated the championship from the start with a record five consecutive wins. He would finish the season with a record eight wins, two second place and one third place finish and also led the Indy Pro Series with 399 laps led, 751 laps completed, 13 top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes (tie). The talented Brit also earned five pole positions, the most of any driver in 2007, and started on the front row for every Indy Pro race where qualifying was held.
"Everyone at Sam Schmidt Motorsports is extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish with Alex in 2007,"said Sam Schmidt, team owner of Sam Schmidt Motorsports. "We recognized his tremendous ability and potential in 2006 when he drove a partial season, and I'm glad that we were able to maximize those talents last year. Of course the Championship and multiple records are great, but we are ultimately in this business to graduate drivers to the next level. Alex is the total package and we have no doubt that he'll be very successful driving for TCGR. He has legitimately earned the shot and I applaud Chip and Mike for supporting the system."