Plainfield, Illinois - Dale Coyne Racing announces today that it is planning a full season assault on Rookie of the Year honors with Switzerland F/3000 pilot Joel Camathias.
After a successful 2-day testing evaluation at Sebring in mid-October, the decision to commit to for the full 2003 season was a natural. "Joel ran very consistent and competitive times at Sebring", reported veteran team owner Dale Coyne, "Having never driven a car with this much horsepower, Joel took to it quite naturally and continued to improve his times over the two days at Sebring."
Joel Camathias, who is managed by the experienced PoleVision Racing in Switzerland, comes to CART with a wealth of experience at his young age of 21. The Lugano, Switzerland native starting in go karts in 1995, and after an international winning record moved to Formula cars in late 1997 at the tender age of 16. In 1998, driving in the Italian Formula 3 Federale Championship, Camathias recorded 3 top 6 positions and finished 10th in the series for his rookie year. The seasons of 1999 and 2000 saw Joel compete in the Nissan Telefonica Championship, where over the two years he recorded fifteen top ten finishes and finished 15th and 9th in the Championships respectively.
Camathias graduate to the highly competitive International Formula 3000 in 2001 finishing 15th among the 30 driver fields, with his best finish being a 5th at Brazil. Joel ran the first five races of the 2002 European F3000 championships before deciding to set his sights on coming to the CART series. "I want to continue to grow and become a better driver," remarks the personable Swiss, "I have gained good experience in Europe, but now CART is perfect with all of the cars being equal and the opportunity to get a lot of miles."
Joel Camathias comes from a heritage of family racing and represents the first Swiss driver to compete full time in American open wheel racing. From Joel's great uncle Florian who raced motorcycles and sidecars in the 50's and 60's to his father Romeo who raced sports cars in the 70's and 80's the Camathias's have long had a passion and talent for racing and winning.
Dale Coyne Racing represents one of the longest standing teams in CART. This journeyman team has fielded cars in CART for 19 consecutive years. Only Newman/Hass surpasses that standing record. "CART has been very good to Dale Coyne Racing and we are very pleased to return for a full time effort in 2003" commented Coyne, "Running a competitive races at Rockingham and Mexico this year was good for the team and shows our personnel have the skill and experience to put out a competitive car in what continues to be a great series in CART."
The team is in the process of preparing two 2003 specification Lola's for Joel's 2003 launch. Sponsorship announcements will come during the off season, but all is in place for the full time 2003 entry of Joel Camathias and Dale Coyne Racing.