CHAMPCAR/CART: Minardi Team USA announcement

PAUL STODDART JOINS CHAMP CAR RANKS INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, USA, December 18, 2006 -- Paul Stoddart is today pleased to announce that he will field a multi-car team in the 2007 Champ Car World Series under the Minardi Team USA banner.

PAUL STODDART JOINS CHAMP CAR RANKS

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, USA, December 18, 2006 -- Paul Stoddart is today pleased to announce that he will field a multi-car team in the 2007 Champ Car World Series under the Minardi Team USA banner. The announcement marks the successful conclusion to negotiations that have resulted in the former Minardi F1 Team Principal purchasing a controlling interest in the Indianapolis-based CTE Racing HVM Team.

"After taking a year off from motor racing following the sale of Minardi, we've had a chance to consider our options and examine how we might want to be involved with the sport in the future," says Stoddart. "After a lot of deliberation, we've come to the conclusion that Champ Car, with its blend of highly competitive, cost-effective racing and relatively level 'playing field', offers easily the best way forward. We've been in discussion with Kevin Kalkhoven (Champ Car World Series co-owner) and Keith Wiggins (HVM Team Owner) for some time now about a possible involvement, and I'm pleased to confirm today that we are proceeding with our plans.

"In terms of the structure of the new organisation, HVM will become Minardi Team USA, and all the day-to-day management will continue under Keith and his highly skilled staff. This is obviously a new challenge for us, but one about which we are very excited."

Keith Wiggins adds, "This is an exciting progression for our company, which will allow us to take it to the next level. It puts together all the elements we have established at HVM, continues the progress with the CTE programme, and adds the resources and talent that Minardi brings. The chemistry between Paul and myself is extremely good, and I'm looking forward to a stable, long-term future."

The announcement comes two days before Minardi Team USA, along with the rest of the Champ Car World Series teams, takes delivery of its first Panoz DP01 chassis.

"The addition of an owner with a proven racing background like Paul Stoddart only strengthens the series," says Champ Car President, Steve Johnson. "Combining his experience and resources with a team that showed last year it can win races provides even more reason to be excited about Champ Car's future."

Further details concerning the formation of Minardi Team USA, including drivers and sponsors, will be released in the coming weeks, as the team prepares for the first open test of the 2007 season, which takes place January 23-25, in Sebring, Florida.

-credit: minardi team USA

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