CHAMPCAR/CART: Tagliani named as Rocketsports Champ Car driver

CHAMPCAR/CART: Tagliani named as Rocketsports Champ Car driver

Alexandre Tagliani was named today as the driver for the new CART Champ Car series team fielded by Trans-Am veteran, Paul Gentilozzi. Gentilozzi's Rocketsports Racing, as announced previously, will have backing from auto industry supplier Johnson...

Alexandre Tagliani was named today as the driver for the new CART Champ Car series team fielded by Trans-Am veteran, Paul Gentilozzi. Gentilozzi's Rocketsports Racing, as announced previously, will have backing from auto industry supplier Johnson Controls on their Lola-Fords, continuing their partnership from their extremely successful Trans-Am campaign. Gentilozzi is extremely confident in his driver choice, saying, "He's going to win with Rocketsports!"

Alex Tagliani.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Tagliani is making a fresh start with Rocketsports in his fourth season in the Champ Cars, coming off his best season to date. The 30-year-old Canadian's 8th place finish in the 2002 CART points chase was his best in three seasons with Player's Forsythe Racing. Despite his improvement over his 11th place finish in 2001, his performance was eclipsed by that of teammate Patrick Carpentier, and he became the odd man out when Forsythe got the opportunity to sign Canadian star Paul Tracy. Tagliani is thrilled at his opportunity to work with Gentilozzi, remarking, "All the tools are there."

Tagliani began his racing career in karting in his native Quebec, winning multiple championships in a seven-year career. In 1994, he moved up to cars, logging three years in Formula Ford classes and four more in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, where he recorded six wins and eight pole positions. While still looking for his first Champ Car win, "Tag" has earned three pole positions and finished 2nd three times (most recently, last August at Road America) in 59 starts.

Rocketsports has assembled a strong staff to lead their opening year in the Champ Car series, led by Team Manager Phil Howard and Engineer Andy Borme. Rocketsports Racing was founded in Lansing, MI by Gentilozzi in 1985, and has carried him, and other drivers, to great success in sports car racing. Along with impressive success in IMSA competition, including winning the IMSA GTS Manufacturer's Championship for Oldsmobile, Rocketsports, with Gentilozzi driving, rewrote the Trans-Am series record books. Gentilozzi holds Trans-Am series records for starts, laps led, top-3, top-5 and top-10 finishes, top-5 starts and total winnings. Gentilozzi ranks third (behind Mark Donohue and Tommy Kendall) in Trans-Am victories (with 24) and was series champion three times (1998, 1999 and 2001.)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls is a major original equipment supplier to the auto industry, the world's leading supplier of automotive interior systems, and one of the largest suppliers of vehicle batteries. Johnson Controls employs over 75,000 people in nearly 300 facilities around the world. 2003 will be the sixth season of Johnson Controls' partnership with Rocketsports.

More news on the Rocketsports announcement:
Champ Car Series
Rocketsports Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Paul Gentilozzi , Eric Gilbert , Mark Donohue , Tommy Kendall