CHAMPCAR/CART: Hogan signs JJ Lehto

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Courtesy of CART Online JJ Lehto Joins Hogan Racing For 1998 CART Season CART Online (December 4) -- Finland's JJ Lehto, a 31-year-old veteran of Formula One and FIA GT competition, will turn to CART competition in 1998 as the new driver...

Courtesy of CART Online

JJ Lehto Joins Hogan Racing For 1998 CART Season

CART Online (December 4) -- Finland's JJ Lehto, a 31-year-old veteran of Formula One and FIA GT competition, will turn to CART competition in 1998 as the new driver for Hogan Racing's Reynard Mercedes-Benz which will ride on Firestone tires. The announcement was made Thursday by team owner Carl Hogan.

"We are pleased to develop a relationship with a driver of JJ's talent and professionalism," Hogan said. "Our agreement with JJ allows Hogan Racing to be competitive for 1998 and beyond."

Lehto, born in Espoo, Finland, began go-kart racing at the age of six. His extensive racing career includes five years of Formula One where he was considered a rising star before a pre-1994 season accident hampered his progress. In 1991 he earned his first podium finish (third at San Marino) and from 1992 through 1994, Lehto had 19 top ten finishes in F1.

Most recently, Lehto drove for BMW in the FIA GT Championship where he finished second in the point standings and was rated the top driver by AutoSport Magazine. Lehto won four of 11 races: Hockenheim, Helsinki, Spa-Francorchamps and Mugello, but ultimately lost the title to Bernd Schneider and Mercedes-Benz in the finale at Laguna Seca in October. In total, Lehto had four third place finishes for eight podium results overall.

"I am excited to be joining Hogan Racing and the CART series," Lehto said. "Having tested with Hogan Racing, I am impressed with their approach to developing the car and team. I am confident that we can be a successful team."

Lehto and his wife Satu, along with their two daughters, Julia (3) and Johanna (9 months), plan to reside in the United States during the season.

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Series INDYCAR