Team Penske Pit Notes February 7, 2008 BRISCOE GEARS UP FOR 2008 INDYCAR SERIES SEASON On March 29th Ryan Briscoe makes his Team Penske debut in the ...
Team Penske Pit Notes
February 7, 2008
BRISCOE GEARS UP FOR 2008 INDYCAR SERIES SEASON
On March 29th Ryan Briscoe makes his Team Penske debut in the #6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda at the IndyCar Series season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Needless to say, the 26 year-old Australian is eagerly awaiting the dropping of the green flag and getting his new job at Team Penske officially underway.
"It's going to be a very special experience running for Team Penske this season," explains Briscoe. "Penske Racing is certainly one of the most successful organizations in all of motorsports and to be able to put on that firesuit and climb into the car is truly a special feeling. Earning this ride is definitely the pinnacle of my career, and I'm just so honored to be able to race for Roger (Penske)."
While the 2008 season will mark the fourth year in which Briscoe has driven an Indy car, he feels like this is the year he can improve upon his best-ever finish of third, earned at Watkins Glen International in 2006.
"It's really difficult to set a specific goal for 2008," continues Briscoe. "But I'd say my major focus will be to run consistently up front throughout the year. I've got a huge opportunity this season. I'd love to come away with at least one win this year and I believe I certainly have the tools at my disposal to do so. Obviously, I've got a lot to learn, but I also feel that I've got some solid experience running Indy cars so I think that I am in a position to capitalize on the opportunity given to me."
Despite the fact that Briscoe spent all of 2007 sharing the driving responsibilities of the Penske Racing #6 DHL Porsche RS Spyder with a teammate in the American LeMans Series, Briscoe feels much more at home in the cockpit of an openwheel car.
"I'm getting back to what I'm more comfortable with, really," said Briscoe. "Last year's ALMS racing was a totally different experience for me. I'm accustomed to working as a solo driver, with my own crew and team -- it's what I had done my entire career. I'm really looking forward to building the Team around me and getting back into familiar surroundings. I'm fortunate that I live near the race shop in Mooresville, NC, because I've been trying to spend a lot of time there with the Team to get to know everyone really well so we're on the same page when the season starts."
"While I'm really looking forward to each race and I think we'll be very competitive all year," Briscoe went on to say, "I have to say, I'm most looking forward to the month of May. I can't wait to go to the Indy 500 with Team Penske. The expectations will be very high because I'm driving with the most successful Team ever to compete at Indy and it's certainly the most important race that we run all year. There will be so much preparation going into that event -- it's going to be huge and I can't wait for it. I've seen how excited Roger gets for Memorial Day weekend and I'm just so excited -- it's going to be great."
Will this be the breakout year for Ryan Briscoe? All the pieces appear to be in place, but only time will tell.
THOUGHTS ON BRISCOE
With a new teammate coming on board, Team Penske is very much looking forward to the prospects of the 2008 season. Following are some thoughts from key personnel about the addition of Briscoe to Team Penske's lineup:
"Ryan has been a natural fit for our organization," said Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing. "Last year was a great opportunity for Ryan to get to know the Team. As always, it will be up to us to execute and it will be important for him to be patient and take one race at a time."
"It will be a good atmosphere this season at Team Penske," said two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. "Ryan seems to be a great person and a fast driver, and that's exactly what we need. We'll be pushing each other all year long to make sure both cars are positioned to win races."
"I'm excited about Ryan joining the Team," said Team Penske Advisor Rick Mears. "He's a great guy and I think he'll fit in well at Team Penske. He's very dedicated to the sport and very technical; he's constantly working to improve himself, and his understanding of the sport. He proved he can do great things for Penske Racing last year in ALMS and I think he'll be great this season in the #6 car."
"Ryan is definitely switched on when it comes to the science of racing," said Matt Jonsson, chief mechanic of the #6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. "He's really interested in making sure he comprehends what is going on with the car out on the track. Ryan reminds me a lot of Gil de Ferran, because he's very analytical and wants to see and understand everything. Not only is he knowledgeable about racing, but he also appreciates the mechanical and technical aspects of the sport as well. After tests and races, he goes back and studies his own data to learn more about his performance; it's really exciting to see that kind of enthusiasm in a driver. Ryan definitely has a lot of talent and I'm looking forward to working with him this year."