Cheever to Drive at Inaugural Grand Prix Masters Race
Indianapolis, Ind. (Nov. 7, 2005) Eddie Cheever Jr. will take a trip down memory lane Nov. 11 to 13 when he drives in the inaugural Grand Prix Masters race against former Formula One drivers. The race at Kyalami International Raceway in South Africa will be Cheever's first professional race since the 2002 IRL IndyCar Series event at Texas Motor Speedway.
"I thought that book had been closed," said Eddie Cheever Jr., who last drove in Formula One in 1989. "Now here we are again, with many of the same people, nearly twenty years later. I am excited about the fact that I will race against some of the greatest drivers of my generation again. I enjoyed my career as a Grand Prix driver and this will be a fun way to revisit that part of my life."
Racing alongside Cheever will be an international list of champions including Andrea De Cesaris, Emerson Fittipaldi, Stefan Johansson, Jacques Laffite, Nigel Mansell, Riccardo Patrese, Hans Stuck, Patrick Tambay, Derek Warwick and more. The requirements to be invited: a minimum age of 45 years old and at least two seasons of former competition in Formula One.
Born in Phoenix, Ariz. and raised in Rome, Italy, Cheever grew up racing in Europe where he became known as "the American from Rome." He went on to drive in 132 Grand Prix races from 1978 to 1989.
Regarding the all-star cast of drivers scheduled to race in the Altech Grand Prix Masters of South Africa Cheever said, "For every driver that will be racing at Kyalami I have a story. We are all older, fatter and wrinkled, but I expect we will be the same drivers on the track with the same character traits."
The Grand Prix Masters will compete in modern, high performance, single seater cars designed and built by Delta Motorsport. Powered by an 80-degree 3.5 liter V8 Nicholson McLaren Cosworth engine, the Grand Prix Masters cars produce more than 600 horsepower. With drivers competing in equal cars the competition will be fierce. "It will be fun to see what happens when we are all in relatively similar cars," Cheever said.
For Cheever, who moved to the United States in 1990 to race open-wheel cars, and ultimately won the 1998 Indianapolis 500, the twisty, 2.6475-mile, Kyalami road course will present a personal challenge.
"I haven't done anything in racing other than turn left, at very high speeds, for more than ten years. It has been a long time since I have driven on a road course. I will land in South Africa, make my seat and then do a half day of testing. I am just hoping that the race is not the full length of a Grand Prix. If it is I am going to have to stop and drink an espresso midway through the race.
"It will be a fun and hard race," Cheever continued. "I don't plan on giving anybody more room than I have to and I know none of these guys are going to move over to let somebody go by. There will be the inevitable arguments, but I think we will get over them a bit quicker than we did when we were younger."
For more information on the Altech Grand Prix Masters of South Africa visit www.gpmasters.com.