CTE RACING -- HVM SIGNS CHAMP CAR'S RISING STAR, NELSON PHILIPPE
Indianapolis, IN (March 20, 2006) -- CTE Racing -- HVM partners Cedric The Entertainer and Keith Wiggins are proud to announce that Frenchman Nelson Philippe will drive the #4 CTE Racing-HVM Lola in the 2006 Champ Car World Series.
"We have seen great potential in Nelson over the past season and we were keen to see what he could do on our team" said team owner, Keith Wiggins. "He is young and has learned a lot over the past seasons. Some mistakes have not deterred him and he has become faster each season, which sets him up as a serious challenger now. We expect great things together."
Philippe; just 19 years old, is entering his third season of Champ Car competition and has set several records along the way. He became the youngest driver ever to start a Champ Car race, when he made his rookie debut at the Long Beach Grand Prix in 2004 at just 17 years of age, scoring back-to-back top ten finishes.
2005 proved to be a break-out year for Philippe. At the second race of the season in Monterrey, Mexico, he was poised to take his first Champ Car victory, leading 23 laps, before a mechanical failure stole his victory toward the end of the race. This performance was a preview of the season to come where he bettered his qualifying and finishing record at more than half of the 2005 race schedule. Highlights included starting from sixth place on the challenging street circuit in San Jose and his seventh place finish at the historic Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez at the series finale in Mexico City.
Philippe's successful season resulted in him being voted the Series' "Most Improved Driver" by his peers and he won the Nation's Cup along with fellow Frenchmen, Sebastian Bourdais. Nelson commented, "We have been talking for a few months now and it is a great relief to finally get started. This past week working with the team in Indy has really showed me that this team wants to win. The engineers and crew have worked very hard over the winter period and it boosts my confidence for this upcoming season. The team and I are getting along very well and we are all eager to test in Sebring after such a long off-season."
Nelson has spent this week with the crew and engineers in preparation for his debut as a CTE-HVM team driver when the team tests at Sebring next week. His engineer, Will Phillips, is pleased to start working with Nelson and commented "Nelson's enthusiasm is both refreshing and infectious. We have all been delighted to have such a positive start to our working relationship. It promises to be a good season!"
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