Rookies Ben Collins And Scott Dixon Join Johansson Motorsports For 1999
Johansson Motorsports will be the only team running a pair of rookies in the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship this season. Collins is a graduate of British Formula 3 while Dixon won the 1998 Holden Championship in New Zealand at the age of 17. He will be the first 18-year-old to run in the series since Casey Mears and Rodolfo Lavin debuted in 1996. "I am very excited about the drivers we have signed," Johansson said. "Ben is one of the better young drivers to come out of England and Scott has become something of a national treasure in New Zealand." "Guy Smith brought a lot of attention to the Indy Lights series by doing so well last year," Collins said of the former Johansson team driver who placed third in last year's championship. "I definitely like the idea of doing Indy Lights. Unlike British F3 where it comes down to choosing the right chassis and engine, Indy Lights is a lot more like Formula 3000. It's very competitive." Collins started out in England's Formula First series in 1994 before moving up to the British Vauxhall Junior Championship and ultimately the prestigious British F3 series in 1997. "A lot motorsports people in my country head to Touring Cars because they are so popular there, but I find the single seaters more demanding," added Dixon. "It's hard to go to Europe and get into Formula One. It is more realistic to look at the CART series." Dixon got started in go-karts at the tender age of seven and by age 13 was racing in Formula Vees. He won the 1993 championship in that division and moved up to Formula Ford-Class II where he finished runner-up in 1994 before the winning the title the following year. In 1997, Dixon placed third in the Formula Holden Championship, New Zealand's equivalent of Formula 3000. Last year, he dominated with five victories, seven poles and five second-place finishes in 12 races.
Source: Indy Lights