CHAMPCAR/CART: Stoddart joins series as team owner

FORMER F1 TEAM PRINCIPAL PAUL STODDART JOINS CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES AS CTE RACING -- HVM BECOMES MINARDI TEAM INDIANAPOLIS (December 18, 2006) -- The lights were turned up even higher on what is already a bright future for the Champ Car World ...

FORMER F1 TEAM PRINCIPAL PAUL STODDART JOINS CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES AS CTE RACING -- HVM BECOMES MINARDI TEAM

INDIANAPOLIS (December 18, 2006) -- The lights were turned up even higher on what is already a bright future for the Champ Car World Series Monday when Paul Stoddart announced that he had purchased a controlling interest in the Indianapolis-based CTE Racing -- HVM Champ Car team.

Stoddart comes to the U.S.-based Champ Car World Series after five seasons as the owner of the Minardi Formula 1 team, which enjoyed a 21-year F1 run from 1985-2005. The Australian-born Stoddart will run a multi-car Champ Car team, along with current CTE Racing -- HVM owner Keith Wiggins, from the team's existing headquarters on Indianapolis' fabled Gasoline Alley.

"After taking a year off from motor racing following the sale of Minardi, we've had a chance to consider our options and examine how we might want to be involved with the sport in the future," says Stoddart. "After a lot of deliberation, we've come to the conclusion that Champ Car, with its blend of highly competitive, cost-effective racing and relatively level 'playing field', offers easily the best way forward."

"This is an exciting progression for our company, which will allow us to take it to the next level" added Wiggins. "It puts together all the elements we have established at HVM, continues the progress with the CTE program and adds the resources and talent that Minardi brings. The chemistry between Paul and I is extremely good and I am looking forward to the stable long-term future."

The newly-christened Minardi Team USA is coming off of a resurgent campaign in 2006 in which Nelson Philippe finish third in the series points, a high-water mark for the team even dating back to its years as Bettenhausen Racing. The announcement comes two days before the team, along with the rest of the Champ Car World Series, will take delivery of their first Panoz DP01 Champ Cars.

"The addition of an owner with a proven racing background like Paul Stoddart only strengthens the series," said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. "Combining his experience and resources with a team that showed last year that it can win races, provides even more reason to be excited about Champ Car's future."

Information concerning the formation of Minardi Team USA, including drivers and sponsors, will be released in the coming weeks as the team prepares for the first open test of the 2007 season, which takes place January 23-25 in Sebring, Florida.

-credit: ccws

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