On today's CART media teleconference, Dale Coyne announced a full-season CART Rookie of the Year program for Swiss racer Joel Camathias. The team will use Lola chassis and the common-to-all Cosworth engine package for the program, backed by a group of Swiss companies to be announced January.
Camathias, 21, who has raced in European F3 and F3000 series among others, tested recently at Sebring with Coyne's team, and was on hand for today's announcement. Camathias finished 15th in the International F3000 series in 2001, his last full season, recording a best finish of 5th place at Interlagos. He raced a partial season in F3000 cars in Europe in 2002 combined with an occasional GT race.
For Coyne, this program marks a return to full time participation as a CART team owner. A driver himself in the 1980s, Coyne has operated teams under the Dale Coyne Racing and Payton/Coyne Racing banners (partnered with late NFL legend, Walter Payton) in CART since 1984. His last full-season effort was in 2000, when he fielded two cars for several drivers, including Alex Barron and Gualter Salles. In the last two seasons, Coyne's teams have only participated in occasional CART events, fielding cars for Luis Garcia Jr. and Michael Krumm in 2001 (two races each) and for Darren Manning and Andre Lotterer this season (one race each).
Coyne is also working to arrange a second car for the 2003 season. Lotterer's strong showing in the 2002 CART season-ending race in Mexico City could signal his return in that second car.