Mark Blundell joins the PacWest Indy Car team for all 16 PPG Cup races in 1996, including the U.S. 500 in Michigan. Blundell joins Gugelmin who starts his second season at PacWest and third full season in the IndyCar series.

Blundell, a resident of Hertfordshire, England, comes to the PPG series following an impressive year with the McLaren Formula One team. Despite running 15 of 17 races Blundell managed 13 points and a tenth place finish in the World Championship. Blundell started in Formula One as a test driver for Williams in 1990. Brabham-Yamaha signed Blundell to contest the 1991 World Championship. In 1992, Blundell was a full time test driver for McLaren. Bludell drove for Ligier-Renault in 1993, placing 10th in the World Championship. In 1994 he was 12th in the World Championship.

In 1990, Blundell became the youngest driver to ever to earn pole position in the Le Mans 24 hour race. His six second margin in claiming the pole is still one of the largest ever for the race. In 1992, Blundell won the Le Mans 24 hour race with Peugeot-Sport Team.

Gugelmin competed in 74 Grand Prix races from 1988-1992.


Gugelmin tested last Monday at Homestead before moving up to Sebring for three days of testing. Persistant rain on Friday hindered the final test day at Sebring.

"Friday we weren't able to do much other than see how the car responded on rain tires," said Gugelmin. "But we made some pretty good strides on Wednesday and Thursday and I'm really happy with the balance of the car."

Gugelmin returns to his test schedule Monday, January 22 at Firebird International Raceway.


Steven Costello, whose background includes over 21 years as both a professional driver and race engineer, will anchor the PacWest Touring Car Group effort as Team Manager for the 1996 season.

Costello, 39, comes to PacWest following six years at Tom Walkinshaw Racing as chief mechanic and sub-assembly manager. For the last two years, Costello worked as a subcontractor with the Ligier Formula One test team.

Costello's driving career spanned more than 15 years (1974-1989) in series such as the SCCA Club and Pro Sport 2000.


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__ David Reininger's Paper Race