IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-01-18

Indy Racing League News and Notes Jan. 18, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Enge Joins Panther Racing 1. Enge Joins Panther Racing: Tomas Enge will join Tomas Scheckter at Panther Racing for the 17-race IndyCar Series season. Enge, who competed...

Indy Racing League News and Notes
Jan. 18, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Enge Joins Panther Racing

1. Enge Joins Panther Racing: Tomas Enge will join Tomas Scheckter at Panther Racing for the 17-race IndyCar Series season.

Enge, who competed in the final two 2004 events with Patrick Racing, will make his debut in the No. 2 Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone on Jan. 19 on the 2.21-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway road course during an Open Test. The opening race of the IndyCar Series' 10th anniversary season is March 6 at the facility's 1.5-mile oval.

"Panther Racing is one of the best in the business and I relish the chance to drive for them," said Enge, who will be eligible for the Bombardier Rookie of the Year award. "This is a great opportunity to show what I am capable of."

Enge will team with Scheckter for the second time in his careeer. The two were teammates in 2000 with the McLaren Junior Team while competing in the Formula 3000 International Championship. In a race at Hockenheim, Germany, Enge shot past Scheckter -- who was in his first race with the team -- on the circuit's final straightaway to claim the victory.

Enge, 28, of the Czech Republic, impressed the Panther Racing ownership group during a test a California Speedway in 2003 -- his first time driving an IndyCar Series car. He finished 16th at California Speedway and 13th in the finale at Texas Motor Speedway in the No. 20 Patrick Racing entry after taking over for Jaques Lazier.

"Tomas has proven himself a winner in every form of racing he has attempted," co-owner Doug Boles said. "His vast amount of open-wheel experience makes him a natural for IndyCar Series racing. With the addition of road courses to our schedule, Tomas' background and training in that discipline of the sport will provide Panther Racing with an outstanding opportunity to be competitive in all 17 events on the 2005 schedule."

Enge's race engineer will be Andy Borme, who was an engineer with Team Penske during Helio Castroneves' Indianapolis 500 victories in 2001 and '02, and Steve Namisnak will be the chief mechanic. David Cripps returns as race engineer for Scheckter's No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

"Obviously, Tomas (Scheckter) has much more experience in the IRL, so he will be my benchmark," Enge said. "I think that in the IRL it is very important how the teammates work together. We are the only Chevrolet team, so our cooperation will be even more important. It is very good when you have an opportunity to compare data and information with someone who is very competitive."

***

The IRL IndyCar Series opens its 10th season of competition with the Toyota Indy 300 at 2 p.m. (EST) on March 6, 2005 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season also opens on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 17.

-irl-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Tomas Enge , Helio Castroneves , Jaques Lazier
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske