Montreal, Quebec, October 26, 1999</bold> - Canadian drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alexandre Tagliani will be teammates on the Player's CART Team for the 2000 season, management of the Player's Racing Program announced today. Carpentier,...
Montreal, Quebec, October 26, 1999</bold> - Canadian drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alexandre Tagliani will be teammates on the Player's CART Team for the 2000 season, management of the Player's Racing Program announced today.
Carpentier, of Joliette, Que., was signed to a three-year contract by the Player's CART Team, for which he has raced the last two seasons. The 1997 CART Rookie-of-the-Year had the most productive season of his career in 1999, finishing second at the Molson Indy Vancouver and turning in seven top-10 performances in 19 races thus far.
Tagliani, who succeeds fellow Canadian Greg Moore as Carpentier's teammate, joins the Player's CART team after an impressive career in the Atlantic series - with memorable wins at Montreal, Toronto and Trois-Rivières - and a convincing performance in testing sessions aboard the Player's Champ Car at Sebring, Florida, earlier this month.
"We want the 2000 season to mark the return of the Player's CART Team to contending status and we have two talented drivers who share this vision and are prepared to devote all of their efforts to achieve this objective," said Jean-Paul Blais, President of Player's Ltd.
As a rookie driver in the highly competitive CART series, Tagliani is well aware of the challenge that awaits him. He also realizes that there are a number of Canadian drivers who would like to be in his position.
"I've gone through all sorts of emotions in the last few weeks, and even though it seemed like I was waiting forever, the wait was sure worth it, "declared the 27-year-old Tagliani. "The Player's Racing Program is unique in the history of motor racing and I'm very proud to be a part of it. Being selected to join the Player's CART team is an expression of the confidence that Player's management has in me and I intend to do everything I can to prove that they made the right choice."
Neil Micklewright, Vice-President of Operations for the Player's CART Team, says that Tagliani's racing skills will quickly become evident to Canadian racing fans.
"His technical knowledge, combined with his physical ability and his driving style make him a first-rate candidate for any team that's looking for a rookie driver who can excel in such a competitive series," remarked Micklewright. "Alexandre has all the attributes to be able to do very well and it's up to us to create an environment that will be conducive to his personal and professional development."
Lee Bentham and David Empringham, who like Tagliani are products of the Player's Racing Program, also took part in the testing sessions to select Moore's successor. Micklewright praised them for their strong efforts and their contribution to the program over the years.
As for Carpentier, he is pleased by the outcome of his negotiations with the Player's CART Team and the approach the team is taking in an effort to be among the leaders in the 2000 season.
"We'll have the resources at our disposal to be successful and I feel that I'm ready to assume a leadership role on the team," declared Carpentier, who is entering his fourth CART season." I believe that Canadian racing fans are eager to see the Player's CART Team return to the front of the pack and with Alex coming on board, I think it creates a new dynamic that pushes everyone to work that much harder."
The 2000 season coincides with Player's 40th year of involvement in the development of motorsport in Canada. The company's association with motorsport dates back to the staging of the country's first-ever international race, the Player's 200, which was won by the legendary Stirling Moss in 1961.