AVONDALE, AZ, March 22, 2003 - Greg Ray made it official this morning that Access Motorsports will join the IndyCar Series at the Twin Ring Motegi round, scheduled for April 13th. Appearing at Phoenix International Raceway, the Texan announced...
AVONDALE, AZ, March 22, 2003 - Greg Ray made it official this morning that Access Motorsports will join the IndyCar Series at the Twin Ring Motegi round, scheduled for April 13th. Appearing at Phoenix International Raceway, the Texan announced the formal entry of his Panoz G Force chassis powered by a Honda engine. The signing of Access by Honda was confirmed by Paul Ray of Ilmor Engineering earlier in the week.
Access Motorsports have purchased the equipment formerly used by Blair Racing and will situate its shops at that defunct squad's address on the northwest side of Indianapolis, next to the 465 loop..
Ray is part owner of Access and is joined by team manager Ted Bitting, technical director Jeff Britton, crew chief Jamie Nanny and New York businessman Brent Townsend. All five have a stake in the team. They had intended to begin the season at Homestead using a Falcon chassis, which is not yet ready for competition and, due to that fact, needed to move their start time back a bit.
"We're going to Las Vegas [Motor Speedway] to shake down the car next Tuesday through Thursday," Ray confirmed. "Our goal is to be a two-car team an d, while we have no primary sponsorship yet, I have been on planes for the past 90 days trying to firm up that status."
EDS PLM Solutions is the associate sponsor on the #13 car, together with Panasonic's computer division, Spirian Technologies as a technical partner. Promotional partners include Chapparal Boats, American IronHorse Motorcycle company and Firestone tires, the official tire of the Indy Racing League.
Asked about his choice of car number Greg Ray said, "It (13) was the first [chronological] number available and it means nothing to me. I don't think there's a stigma connected with the number," he shrugged.
This program is a "long-term" deal. "We couldn't get things together quick enough to be here in Phoenix," Ray noted, "and we want to do this right." Taking on the added stress of team owner was an easy choice for the Texan, who felt his commercial interests would be best served in that position. Often, he alluded, former team owners didn't pay much attention to his directives.
"I think my ability to put programs together from a sponsorship angle will benefit the tem. If you're in this for any reason other than winning, you've chosen the wrong field," Ray insisted.
He's looking forward to his three-day flog in the Nevada desert and, despite the absence of other Honda teams running the Panoz G Force chassis, Ray believes the feedback and cooperation inherent in his business dealings with both Elan Technologies (maker of the chassis) and Honda will make the transition easier.