CHAMPCAR/CART: PK Racing names Lemarie as first driver

Craig Pollock, principal of the new CART Champ Car series team PK Racing, today announced Patrick Lemarie as the driver for the team's 2003 series efforts.

Patrick Lemari? in the garage.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.
Lemarie has spent most of the last four seasons as a test driver in Formula 1 with British American Racing, with the primary responsibility of setting up Jacques Villeneuve's race car.

Lemarie has raced in North America before, having competed in several Toyota Atlantic Championship races during the 1993 and 1994 seasons, with a best finish of second at the 1993 round at Laguna Seca.

Pollock mentioned Lemarie's speed and dedication while serving in the BAR test role and stated: "Patrick has given up a good part of his career to test-drive for BAR, and this is a good recompense for that."

Lemarie also mentioned the sacrifice involved in remaining as a test driver for such a long period, saying: "I miss racing a lot, but when you take a job, you see it through."

Patrick Lemari?, Stefan Johansson and Tom Coronel.
Photo by Joseph van den Heuvel.
Lemarie did race a bit during his BAR stint, competing as part of Stefan Johansson's ALMS/ELMS Gulf Racing team in the 2001 season, the team winning the Czech round. Lemarie also drove for Gulf Racing in the 2001 24 Hours of Le Mans, where their Audi R8 retired in the early evening hours with an electrical problem.

Immediately prior to joining BAR, he raced in the FIA International F3000 Championship for the Pacific and Ravarotto teams.

With PK Racing working on a short timeline from their initial startup in late November, some of the other pieces of the team are still being put in place. The team has not yet named their chief engineer, although Pollock did say that two strong, experienced candidates have emerged and he hopes to make his choice in time for the Champ Car Spring Training sessions next week at Sebring.

In response to questions about plans for a second car, Pollock replied that a second car is in the plan, but that it may take the team until next season to realize it, as they do not wish to dilute the effort for their primary team.