ROCKETSPORTS RACING TO TEST RICHARD LYONS IN SEBRING
EAST LANSING, Mich. (December 9, 2005) - The year 2005 may not yet be over, but Rocketsports Racing is already planning like it is the New Year by scheduling their first test putting race car driver Richard Lyons in the cockpit on December 12-13 to evaluate his talents for a permanent seat to run for Champ Car's Rookie-of-the-Year title starting at Long Beach in April.
Lyons made his motorsports debut racing karts in 1988, at only nine years old. In 1996, at the age of 17, he was promoted to Formula Ford. That same year, he also competed in the Formula Vauxhall Winter Series and was crowned the champion. The next two years the talented Irishman spent racing in the Formula Vauxhall Junior Series, where he finished as the runner-up in the 1998 season. Lyons moved on to the Formula Parmer-Audi Series the following year and finished second in the points standings. In 2000, he continued running in the Formula Parmer-Audi Series in addition to running in the Formula Renault 2000 Series.
His career was limited to single-seaters through 2000, and then he set his sights on Japan and the Formula Nippon Championship for 2001. That same year, he participated in his first endurance race, the Suzuka 1000km in a McLaren F1GTR. From 2002 through 2005, Lyons continued competing in the Formula Nippon Championship, while adding racing in the Japanese GT Series to his resume. 2004 was a big year, one that changed Lyons name to Champion, not just in one of the series, but both.
"I am very excited to come to America," said Lyons about his upcoming test. "I have been following the Champ Car World Series for a long time now, and it has been a goal of mine since the start of my racing career to race in the series. I would like to thank Rocketsports Racing for giving me this opportunity, it is an honor to be able to get behind the wheel of one of their cars and finally get a chance to drive a Champ Car. Hopefully, this test will go well and I will be able to impress some people. My goal is to do the best that I can during this test, with the hopes of landing an opportunity for the upcoming season."
This will be the first time Lyons gets behind the wheel of a Champ Car, but the Rocketsports team is thrilled to give the 26-year-old driver from Northern Ireland an opportunity to test one of its 750-horsepowered machines on the 1.72-mile permanent road course at Florida's Sebring International Raceway. Despite his rookie status, the team anticipates a good test knowing Lyons' solid racing pedigree and its ability to produce reliable racecars.
The third-year Champ Car team demonstrated its reliability during the 2005 season with Timo Glock by finishing second to two-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais in laps completed, finishing 1,285 out of 1,310 laps possible. Glock competed in all 13 rounds of the championship scoring ten top-ten finishes, two top-fives, and one podium with a second place result in Montreal. He earned 202 points in the Champ Car championship, finishing as the top rookie earning the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year title and eighth overall in the championship ranks. The Rocketsports driver was one of only two rookie drivers to finish in the top ten of the drivers championship.