INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 20, 2003 -- Greg Ray, the 1999 IRL IndyCar Series champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 polesitter, has assumed an ownership stake in the new Indianapolis-based Access Motorsports team and will compete in the 2003 IndyCar Series season as an owner-driver beginning April 13 at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan.
Longtime Ray supporter EDS, headquartered in Ray's hometown of Plano, Texas, provides associate sponsorship for the new team. EDS PLM Solutions, Panasonic Computer Solutions Company (PCSC) and Spirian Technologies are on board as technical partners and will provide additional support. Promotional partners include American IronHorse Motorcycle Company, Chapparal Boats and Firestone Tires.
"It is our goal to be a two-car team, but we are still searching vigorously for the primary sponsorship that can fully fund Greg's (No. 13) car," Bitting said. "For now, our goals are very realistic, and I think we can be competitive at the races to which we are able to commit. A solid organization surrounding a championship driver like Greg Ray is a solid foundation to build upon as we search for the sponsorship needed to reach our goal of being a two-car team."
Ray, 36, is one of the most accomplished drivers in IndyCar Series history. He has five victories in 55 career starts and holds the series record with 13 career MBNA Poles.
"Team ownership definitely has been a goal of mine for a very long time," Ray said. "On the other hand, I'm nowhere near the end of my driving career, so this is a unique step that allows me to experience the best of both worlds and, more importantly, to take control of my own racing destiny. We have assembled a great group of people, and I'm very excited about the prospects of winning races and growing the business."
Bitting is a 13-year veteran of the racing industry, including the last 10 in Indy-style racing, and has worked in various capacities with such notable drivers as Arie Luyendyk, Scott Goodyear, John Andretti and George Mack.
Britton most recently engineered Scott Sharp's IndyCar Series entry at Kelley Racing. He also worked with Luyendyk on his 1997 Indianapolis 500 victory, as did Nanny, who last year was involved with Mack's solid IndyCar Series debut season.
The team purchased the Indianapolis race shop and assets of the former Blair Racing organization in Indianapolis.
"First of all we are all really excited primarily because of the (Panoz) G Force and the Honda Indy V8-powered combo we have and the fact that no one else is running that," Britton said. "We have an excellent crew of veteran IndyCar Series guys who have worked so hard for so many years. Plus, we are in a great facility, working out of a new, professional shop -- pristine enough that you feel like eating caviar every day. It's all good."
Nanny said: "We are really excited about our new team, and considering we have gotten a late start, it's a real benefit to be working with Greg and have his direct involvement. We have hand-selected the guys who want to work on the car, and it all just clicks really well. Plus, we all get along great. For as many parties as there are involved in this new team, the communication is incredible."