Juan Manuel Fangio II, the nephew of the late five-time F1 World Champion, Juan Manuel Fangio, will drive the VISA/PacWest Reynard in next week's Indy car race at Mid-Ohio. Bruce R. McCaw, CEO of PacWest Racing, announced reaching an agreement...
Juan Manuel Fangio II, the nephew of the late five-time F1 World Champion, Juan Manuel Fangio, will drive the VISA/PacWest Reynard in next week's Indy car race at Mid-Ohio. Bruce R. McCaw, CEO of PacWest Racing, announced reaching an agreement with Fangio's current employer, Dan Gurney, for Fangio to make his Indy car debut at Mid-Ohio. Fangio is currently in his second year as a test driver for the Gurney Eagle/Toyota Indy car development program.
"We feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with Dan and his All American Racers (AAR) team and provide a ride for a very talented driver," said McCaw. "With Dan returning to Indy car racing full-time in 1996, it's a chance to welcome a great racer and one of IndyCar's founding fathers back to the series. However, we want to emphasize this is a one race agreement and that we are looking forward to Danny Sullivan's return to the series very soon."
Sullivan, who drove PacWest's VISA-sponsored car in the first 13 races of the 1995 PPG Indy Car World Series, fractured his pelvis Sunday in a crash at the Marlboro 500. Following surgery on Monday, the former Indianapolis 500 winner will be hospitalized the next few days with a complete recovery expected.
Fangio II began racing Formula Ford, Formula 2 and Rallye cars in South America from 1978 to 1983. From 1984-84 he raced Formula 3, Formula 3000 and tested a Formula 1 car in Europe. He began racing in the USA in 1986, with GTP, the Inter-American Challenge, Can Am, Corvette Challenge, Formula Atlantic, Indy Lights, and IMSA GTO with Gurney's All American Racers. He has an impressive streak of 14 victories in the last two years of competition including two victories at the 12 hours of Sebring. Fangio II was also the IMSA Camel GTP Drivers Champion in 1992 and 1993.
"It's definitely a fantastic opportunity, one that I've look forward to for over ten years," said Fangio. "Ever since I came to this country and saw my first Indy car race, I knew I wanted to drive in this series. The competition is great here and everyone has a chance to win. I've been testing Indy cars for over a year and I've gotten to understand the personality of these cars so hopefully I will have a good feel for Danny's car."
"We're stoked and proud to have this opportunity," added Gurney. "All of us at AAR wish Danny a very speedy recovery and appreciate his support of Juan as a substitute driver."
Fangio's entry in the Mid-Ohio race will also be a milestone for the well-known racing family. Despite his racing accomplishments, Fangio's famous uncle never participated in an Indy car race although he did test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1958. Coincidentally, the same Kurtis Offy that Fangio drove at Indy is now part of McCaw's vintage race car collection.
Fangio, 38, was born in Balcarce, Buenos Aires, Argentina and currently resides in Miami with his wife, Viviana, and young sons Juan and Lucas.