CHAMPCAR/CART: RuSPORT's Dale, Briscoe teleconference, part 1

CHAMP CAR MEDIA TELECONFERENCE WITH JEREMY DALE AND RYAN BRISCOE ERIC MAUK: Welcome, everyone, to today's Champ Car media teleconference where we are pleased to be joined by the president of RuSPORT, Jeremy Dale, and the new driver of the ...

CHAMP CAR MEDIA TELECONFERENCE WITH JEREMY DALE AND RYAN BRISCOE

ERIC MAUK: Welcome, everyone, to today's Champ Car media teleconference where we are pleased to be joined by the president of RuSPORT, Jeremy Dale, and the new driver of the #10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, Ryan Briscoe. Ryan will be joining the team, driving the 10 car for the final two races of the year, the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise October 22nd and also for the Grand Prix of Mexico City, which takes place November 12th. Guys, congratulations. Thank you for joining us today.

Jeremy, let's start with you. You guys had a long process and kind of a tough deal obviously with the injury to Cristiano da Matta, who had been driving the No. 10 car. Tell us a little bit about the process you guys went through in getting to this point today.

JEREMY DALE: Well, it did take us a little while, and that's really mostly centered around our desire to not just fill a gap and not just throw someone in the car but put someone in the car that we felt was going to make a real contribution to our team and in addition be a great teammate for Justin Wilson, driver of our #9 CDW car.

I must say, first and foremost, Cristiano had done a tremendous job in that regard. I think obvious to everyone out of respect for him we didn't jump in at Denver. Really it took us a few extra weeks just to keep it all moving forward and do what we thought was right for the team.

We recognized that the best way to do that was to go out and do some testing, and that's what we did. We put Ryan on our list, along with a couple of other guys, and he came down to Sebring. He only had one day in the car, but he did a very solid job. We decided pretty quickly at the end of the test that he was the right guy for us.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. It's obviously a big move for you and a big move for Champ Car. We're very excited to see you guys hit the track down in Surfers.

Ryan Briscoe, as many of you know, has driven a number of different race cars here in the last couple years. He was the test driver for Toyota's Formula One program actually back in the time that Cristiano da Matta served with that team. He ran in the Indy Racing League. He's competed in the Grand American Road Racing Series. Most recently he's driven a V8 Supercar Sandown and again at Bathurst. Ryan, big announcement for you, big step. Tell us a little bit about your thoughts on that.

RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, I mean, it's massively exciting for me. You know, I've had a thing for the Champ Car since the beginning of this season. Unfortunately, in the beginning of the year things didn't work out the way I was sort of planning to. But at this point, you know, to be able to debut at Surfers Paradise with RuSPORT, it's really fantastic for me. I'm excited about going into Champ Car now. Not only that, to be with a top team, it's going to be great. Very excited and looking forward to it.

ERIC MAUK: As you and Jeremy both alluded to, you tested the RuSPORT car at Sebring. You tested in the pre-season with PKV Racing. Tell us your thoughts about the Champ Car as a racing machine.

RYAN BRISCOE: The car to drive is absolutely fantastic. I think it suits my driving style. It's the kind of car you can really push hard around a track. Very responsive to setup changes and so on. I don't know, something about it, I just have a great time driving them fast.

You know, it's definitely going to be a challenge going into Surfers Paradise, sort of coming in at the tail end of the championship. But with the support of RuSPORT and everyone getting behind me, I've got a good feeling about it. So hopefully we'll be good right out of the box.

ERIC MAUK: Have you been to the Surfers Paradise Champ Car event before?

RYAN BRISCOE: I went there back in '97. I was just a little go-kart racer. I went there to meet Alex Zanardi, my mechanic in go-karts knew him well. Apart from that, no, I haven't been since then.

ERIC MAUK: This will be 10 years after the fact. A different experience for you. Congratulations. We're looking forward to seeing you at the track down there.

RYAN BRISCOE: Thank you.

ERIC MAUK: We'll open it up for questions from the media.

Q: Ryan, how do you go about preparing for the race at Surfers, a track that you're not familiar with but yet one that the team knows? There are video games out there. Is that part of the preparation?

RYAN BRISCOE: Well, I mean, it's the usual kind of deal with a new circuit. I'm heading up there quite early in the week. I'll be able to have a real good look around the track, you know, walk around the track, just look at all the bumps and stuff around there.

Also having Justin (Wilson) as a teammate, you know, he's a top guy. I don't think you could ask for a better teammate really. At least from the test at Sebring, that's the impression I got. At Sebring, he was really helpful, explaining his thoughts at least on driver style, what's best to bring on board to make driving these cars better. So I'm sure he'll be a big help at Surfers Paradise, along with working with the engineering staff, using the data as well as possible. Really just being focused.

I'm going to be fit for the race and, yeah, just be focused and concentrating. Hopefully doing my best will be enough.

Q: Obviously you would like to win this race and Mexico City. Realistically, what are your objectives?

RYAN BRISCOE: Well, I mean, as I said before, it's definitely going to be a challenge. I would like -- a goal of mine is to out of the box show some serious competitiveness. I mean, whether in the end that brings home a win or a podium or I'm not sure what, you know, we'll have to wait and see. But if I can try to get the most out of the car that I'll have and race at the pointy end of the field, that will be fantastic. Then once you're in the race, there are different circumstances, as always, pit stops and everything. Hopefully I'll be able to do a good, solid job and bring the car home at the front of the field.

Q: Ryan, what are your impressions of the team so far?

RYAN BRISCOE: The team is immensely professional, very, very organized, just cover all bases really. I mean, I've been super impressed, especially over the last couple days, in preparation since we've made the announcement. Just everything from top to bottom. That's from like logistics to at the track, you know. The plan that was set out at Sebring when I tested from the engineers and the way we followed through with the plan throughout the day, very precise. Just seems like a highly professional team. It's definitely a good thing and a good feeling for a driver going into that.

Q: Jeremy, the team, the kind of things you went through, if you could explain the process of you had two teams, then one team. The people who were on the team, how did they shift the responsibilities? And the sponsor's role in all of this. We know in motorsports, sponsors play a big part in everything that goes on. Did you have the cooperation of all your sponsors through all this trouble that you went through?

JEREMY DALE: Well, let me first start by saying that not running the #10 car for three races was very difficult on everyone at RuSPORT. We're all very competitive. We're all very driven. We want to race. Our desire is to win. Our desire is to be the best we can be. And to not run that car was very painful and very difficult for everyone at RuSPORT. I think that what's also clear is that it started to -- it has started to have, though it may be a small impact on the competitiveness of the 9 car, keep in mind that Justin was out there carrying the load on his shoulders 100%, which means you don't have a teammate to bounce ideas off and look at data and do all those things that good teammates do so well. Justin was really missing that, as well.

Even for the #9 guys, it was a big struggle not to run that #10 car. The sense of relief for all of us when we saw that car on the Wednesday morning, Ryan did the first day down at Sebring, that certain sense of relief as it rolled out of the pit lane, we saw it running again, was very real. It's going to be even better when we get to Australia.

On the second question, I mean, we have great partners. They have been very supportive. Key to that is keeping them well-informed to the extent we can having them help share in our decision making. But at the end of the day, we have great relationships with all of our partners. They support everything we've done throughout. We're very lucky to have that kind of support and very thankful for it.

Q: Ryan, obviously we know you've built a tremendous resume of experience in recent years in particular. We know how valuable a broad range of experience is. Can you tell us from working with the Formula One test team to long-distance experience what kind of things you've learned, what that helps you bring to the table?

RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, no, definitely especially this year I'm certainly -- one thing I can say is I'm getting used to jumping from different race machine to different race machine, which hopefully will help going to Surfers Paradise because I'll have to try and pick up on what it takes to be fast there pretty quickly. So hopefully that will have helped in that regard.

I mean, from what I've taken from my experience in Formula One, definitely I'd say the biggest area was the engineering side, working -- also just working with so many engineers and spending so much time debriefing and briefing, looking over so many different aspects of a race car which could, you know, prevent small problems in a race. So you're just doing huge checklists all the time after practice and that sort of stuff.

Then just, you know, in Formula One you're always doing so many miles and testing so many small things, it all just sort of -- I don't know how to say it. It's definitely helped over the years on a technical base with anything I've raced, just being very thorough I guess with feeling so many different components which could make a difference.

But since then, having done endurance races, you know, racing in the IRL, it's all added together helped me as a driver as a whole to become I guess smarter in the race, not rushing into it, but work with the strategy a bit more, not win the race in the first corner kind of deal. So, yeah, I mean, you know, every category has its own sort of aspects which are more important to itself. But in the end you take it all on board. I guess you're just always learning and trying to put that into use wherever you go.

Continued in part 2

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Zanardi , Ryan Briscoe , Cristiano da Matta