The Bowtie is Back: Panther Racing, Chevy Reunite in IZOD IndyCar Series
Chevrolet Renews Partnership with Panther Racing for 2012
INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 7, 2011 – Two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Panther Racing announced today that it will reunite with Chevrolet to run the new Chevy IndyCar V-6 racing engine beginning next season. All of Panther’s 15 IndyCar Series victories and both of its IZOD IndyCar Series championships were captured with GM engines, and team officials are happy to welcome the iconic Bowtie brand back to its family.
"I just couldn’t be more excited that Chevrolet has decided to return to IndyCar racing and obviously it’s a natural fit for Panther to have Chevrolet powering our cars once again," Panther Racing Managing Partner and CEO John Barnes said. "We’ve got a long list of race wins and championships together and we’re looking forward to continuing our successful partnership starting in 2012. Chevy races to win, and so do we, so we’re ready to get to work and pick up right where we left off."
Both organizations share the same commitment, focus, and dedication to winning.
Panther won its first race in 1999 with Scott Goodyear in the team's GM-powered No. 4 entry, and later captured the 2001 and 2002 IZOD IndyCar Series championships with Sam Hornish Jr. driving GM-powered cars. Panther was the lone team to remain with Chevrolet entering the 2005 IndyCar Series season, a year in which they captured a team-record three pole positions (Homestead, Nashville and Texas) and a victory at Texas Motor Speedway with former driver Tomas Scheckter.
"Chevrolet and Panther Racing enjoyed tremendous success together in the past, winning races and winning championships, and we look forward to more success in the future," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President for Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. "As Chevrolet returns to IndyCar competition in 2012 with an all-new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 engine, we're pleased to renew our longstanding relationship with Panther Racing. Both organizations share the same commitment, focus, and dedication to winning."
Chevrolet's roots in IndyCar racing reach back to company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, who drove, designed, and built cars in the early days of open-wheel racing. Chevrolet stock-block V-8 and V-6 engines powered independent racers for decades, and Chevrolet has won championships in Indy-style racing as an engine manufacturer with turbocharged and naturally aspirated engines.
Panther driver JR Hildebrand, who will be vying for the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year crown next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, became interested in motorsports watching his father John race a vintage Camaro when he was a kid. Hildebrand, a 23-year-old American from Sausalito, Calif., is the reigning Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights champion who has collected two Top Five and five Top 10 finishes this season in the team’s No. 4 National Guard entry.
“I definitely grew up in a Chevy family,” Hildebrand said. “My first real introduction to racing was my Dad racing a 1968 Camaro out on the West Coast, so that was always part of my upbringing and it’s going to be cool to be part of that Chevrolet family myself now. The new engine manufacturers coming into the IndyCar Series add a whole new dimension to the racing and the preparation that goes into it, and I know the history and commitment that Chevy has to winning races. I’m excited to be a part of it.”