IRL: Scheckter signs with Panther Racing

Scheckter to drive for Panther Racing in 2004 FORT WORTH, Texas, Saturday Oct. 11, 2003 -- IndyCarTM Series veteran Tomas Scheckter will drive the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone in 2004, Panther Racing officials...

Scheckter to drive for Panther Racing in 2004

FORT WORTH, Texas, Saturday Oct. 11, 2003 -- IndyCarTM Series veteran Tomas Scheckter will drive the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone in 2004, Panther Racing officials announced Oct. 11.

Scheckter, 23, from Cape Town, South Africa, will take over for two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., who announced earlier this year that he was leaving Panther for Penske Racing Inc.

"After competing against Pennzoil Panther Racing for two years, I understand that in order to win on any given race day, you have to beat the yellow car to the finish line," Scheckter said. "Knowing that I will have the benefit of the team's reliability and race-day performance is very exciting. I am really looking forward to 2004."

Scheckter has driven for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2003 and has scored five top-five finishes, including four in the last six races. He scored his only IndyCar Series victory in 2002 at Michigan driving for Red Bull Cheever Racing. In 27 races, Scheckter has led 934 laps, seventh all-time in the Indy Car Series.

"Tomas has proved to be one of the fastest drivers in the IRL over the last two seasons, and we believe our driver development program, with input from our engineering staff and our spotter/coach program, will help showcase Tomas' true ability as a prolific race winner," said John Barnes, co-owner of Panther Racing. "There are a lot of talented drivers out there, but in our mind, Tomas is the one driver that best fits what our program has developed into over the last few years: a team that likes to lead, isn't afraid to run side-by-side and gives 110 percent every lap of the race."

Panther Racing began competing in the IndyCar Series in 1998 with Scott Goodyear. The team won the IndyCar Series title in 2001 and 2002 with Hornish and has won 14 IndyCar Series races, more than any other team.

One victory Panther has yet to obtain is a win at the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Scheckter would like to provide it for them.

"I want to win the Indianapolis 500," Scheckter said. "It is without a doubt my favorite track. I really appreciate the tradition and the history of the facility, and with Panther Racing's ability to build fast cars that make it to the finish, I am hoping the combination will be what we need to drink the milk in victory lane."

Panther Racing also fields a car in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series and won a record seven races and clinched the championship in 2003 with Mark Taylor.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske