BC Motorsports, one of the many new teams joining the CART Champ Car Series for 2003, has signed Formula 3000 standout Giorgio Pantano as the driver for their Lola Ford entry. The team, headquartered in California, has also secured Sunoco as the team sponsor. The driver and sponsor have both agreed to a two-year contract.
"My aim is to try and make a strong impression in CART, and, like Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya, come back across the Atlantic to race in F1 in a few years," stated the Brask Management star Pantano. "I see this as a step towards F1, not a step away. Maybe F1 has not noticed my qualities in F3000, so now I must prove myself in CART."
While little is known about the new BC Motorsports team, Pantano has established a name for himself and had a recent test with Williams Formula One team as a possible test driver. In 2002, Pantano finished second in the FIA International Formula 3000 series while driving for Coloni Motorsports, taking three wins and six podium finishes.
The 23-year-old Italian started his racing career in karting and won three World Championship titles as a junior competitor. His debut in open wheel formulae was in the 1999 Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series, where he finished third in standings.
Pantano made his debut in Formula 3 in 2000 for the KMS team and promptly won his first event at Zolder and went on to take the German F3 title. During the same timeframe, he tested for the former Benetton F1 team.
Climbing to the top was not always easy, and Pantano did experience a year of difficulty in 2001 in his first season in F3000 with Team Astromega. He finally broke through for a win during the season finale in Monza.