HOMESTEAD, FL, March 1, 2003 -- Despite losing the A.J. Foyt Enterprises stable to rival Dallara, Panoz G Force had some good news to report at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the Indy Racing League's first day of practice for Sunday's season ...
HOMESTEAD, FL, March 1, 2003 -- Despite losing the A.J. Foyt Enterprises stable to rival Dallara, Panoz G Force had some good news to report at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the Indy Racing League's first day of practice for Sunday's season opening Toyota Indy 300.
The group has signed Access Motorsports, which claims to be the first Honda- powered team to use the GF09 chassis in IndyCar Series competition. Newly formed, Access Motorsports joins established Panoz G Force clients Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Mo Nunn Racing in utilizing their tub for the 16- race season.
Access Motorsports will have former IRL series champion Greg Ray at the wheel and intends to start their campaign with the Purex 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 23rd. "The Panoz G Force certainly showed at 'Test in the West' that it is the chassis to have this year and its performance at the [Indianapolis Motor] Speedway is always strong as well," Ray commented.
"We are very excited about becoming the first Honda powered Panoz G Force on the grid. Having the right package of engine, chassis and personnel is very important and we believe we are putting all the right pieces of the puzzle together," Ray continued.
Unfortunately, Ray and his team neglected to finalize their deal with Honda Performance Development, which claimed today that a deal has not been struck. "I don't know if anything has changed between yesterday morning and now, but no agreement is now in place for Access to use our engines this year," stated T.E. McHale, Honda Indy Racing's director of press relations. "If we have anything to report, we'll do so at an appropriate time."
David Bowes, CEO of Elan Technologies, maker of the Panoz G Force chassis remarked on the signing of Access Motorsports to its growing list of G Force partners: "Toyota has done a fantastic job with the Panoz G Force entries testing already and we are very pleased to add Honda to the list [of clients]. We are very keen to work with all three engine manufacturers. The larger base of engine packages bolted into our cars really helps our development process."
Bowes noted, "Our new car has already proven to be very strong, but the addition of Access Motorsports and Honda will give us additional data to help make all of our entries even more competitive." While Access Motorsports intends to start its season at Phoenix, Ray realizes "we have a lot of preparation to do prior to that."
With the questions in place concerning this potential addition to the IndyCar Series lineup, the field for round 2 of the 16-race campaign, the Purex Dial Indy 200 being held March 23rd at Phoenix International Raceway may be 22 (with the addition of Buddy Lazier's Hemelgarn Racing entry), not 23 as Ray would have us believe.