CHALLIS TO JOIN TEAM KOOL GREEN IN 2000 INDIANAPOLIS - Championship Auto Racing Teams team owner Barry Green announced today that veteran Champ Car race engineer Steve Challis will join Team KOOL Green for the 2000 FedEx Championship ...
CHALLIS TO JOIN TEAM KOOL GREEN IN 2000
INDIANAPOLIS - Championship Auto Racing Teams team owner Barry Green announced today that veteran Champ Car race engineer Steve Challis will join Team KOOL Green for the 2000 FedEx Championship Series.
Challis has worked with Player's/Forsythe Racing and driver Greg Moore since 1995, winning that season's PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship and going on to five victories and five poles in the FedEx Championship beginning in 1996. To date, Moore has earned a win and a pole at Homestead in 1999, together with two additional podium finishes and currently occupies ninth place in the FedEx Championship Series points race.
"We're thrilled to have someone of Steve's experience and abilities joining Team KOOL Green," said Green. "He's proven to be one of the top race engineers in our sport and we believe he'll be a very valuable addition to our engineering capabilities next year."
Challis' primary role will be to work as race engineer for Paul Tracy, joining team manager/crew chief Tony Cotman to form the core group responsible for the engineering and preparation of the #26 KOOL Honda-Reynard.
"This is great news for myself and Team KOOL Green," said Paul Tracy. "The guys in my engineering group have been working overtime since our race engineer left the team in April. Although things have worked out real well, having Steve on board next year puts us back on track personnel-wise. Besides, Steve's a great guy with a lot of experience and ability. Having him with us will really strengthen our program next season."
Challis will also interface with the Team KOOL Green engineering staff, including technical director Don Halliday (who also serves as Dario Franchitti's race engineer) and director of engineering Scott Graves. Challis' addition will allow Tony Cicale to return to his role as engineering consultant and enable Tino Belli to focus on his duties as Team KOOL Green's director of research and development after the pair split time as Tracy's race and test engineers for the balance of the 1999 season.
"First, I'd like to thank Jerry Forsythe and Player's for giving me a priceless opportunity to become involved in Champ Car racing," said Challis. "The past few seasons have been among the most rewarding of my career. But when Roger Penske announced Greg was joining his team next year, that thrust my situation into the forefront. Greg wanted me to go with him to Penske but a number of other teams sensed there might be some changes at Player's/Forsythe and contacted me about next year, so it forced me to come to a decision before the end of the current season.
"I'm excited by the opportunity to join Team KOOL Green and work with Barry, Paul and the rest of the team. We've been fierce competitors through the years and it'll be challenging and fun to work together with everyone. With a team like this, the Honda-Reynard-Firestone package and a driver of Paul's experience and talent, I'm looking forward to a lot of success in 2000 and the years to come.
"Number one on any engineer's wish list is to work with the fastest drivers out there and, in Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti, I think Team KOOL Green has the fastest driver lineup in Champ Car racing. Paul and I have become pretty close friends over the past few years and I think, both being Canadian, we have a good understanding of one another. I've watched him drive from a very young age and I'm convinced he is the fastest driver in the series, bar none. I think Tony Cicale has done a great job with him since joining Team KOOL Green and I really think what we've seen from Paul this year is only the tip of the iceberg.
"Another thing that attracted me to Team KOOL Green was the chance to work with Barry Green. Barry has always run a first class operation and he continues to show that through his commitment to taking care of his people in the face of a race and testing schedule that gets more hectic every year. The team is top notch and goes about the whole business of Champ Car racing in a first class manner.
"The final thing that attracted me to Team KOOL Green is the Honda-Reynard-Firestone package: it's the package I've wanted to work with since I first got into Champ Car racing."
A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Challis operated his own automotive high performance shop and served as a consultant to Greg Moore's father Ric when he competed in the Player's Challenge, IMSA GTO and SCCA Trans-Am series in the late1980s and early '90s. He worked as race engineer/crew chief when Greg began racing Formula Ford 1600 and 2000, winning the USAC Formula 2000 West Series in 1992 and moving to Indy Lights with Moore Racing in 1993 and '94. Challis began focusing on race engineering after joining Player's/Forsythe Racing with Moore in 1995, winning ten of twelve races and the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship.
"I've been trying to win the FedEx Championship since 1996," says Challis, "and with Team KOOL Green, Paul Tracy, Honda, Reynard and Firestone, I think we've got the tools to do just that."