Panther Signs Driver Pippa Mann to Firestone Indy Lights Lineup
World Series by Renault Driver Joins Martin Plowman in Panther's Developmental Lineup
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 26, 2008) -- Panther Racing added a second driver to its 2009 Firestone Indy Lights lineup on Friday when it announced that current World Series by Renault driver Pippa Mann will drive for the former league champions next season.
Mann will join former Formula 3 Euro Series driver Martin Plowman as part of the team's developmental lineup next season. Last season was the first in which Panther had a multiple-car lineup in Indy Lights, and it was also one of the team's most successful with four victories, a pole position and a combined nine Top Five and 11 Top Ten finishes.
"I'm extremely excited to be joining Panther Racing," Mann said. "Having spent time with them over the summer, I am very impressed with the way in which the entire team works and I look forward to being a part of their 2009 Firestone Indy Lights campaign. Much of this is going to be new to me -- especially racing on ovals -- but I'm ready for the challenge and know that I'll be surrounded by a wealth of experience from which I can learn. It's a truly fantastic opportunity for me and I'm very grateful to everyone who has made this possible. I cannot wait to get started."
Panther currently ranks second all-time in Indy Lights victories, behind rival Sam Schmidt Motorsports. In 58 career starts in the series, Panther has amassed 13 wins, seven pole positions, 29 Top Five and 35 Top Ten finishes. The team's drivers have also led a total of 636 career laps.
"Pippa is another tremendous addition to our developmental program," team co-owner John Barnes explained. "We feel like she has a lot of room to grow and we're going to give her all the tools she needs to continue the success Panther has had with its Indy Lights program. Pippa and Martin (Plowman) give us two dynamic and talented drivers for next season, and we'll see how the rest of the offseason plays out in terms of expanding our Indy Lights program even further."
Mann, whose current series has had previous champions including two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso as well as 2008 F-1 race winners Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen, will become the first female to drive for Panther when the teams head to St. Petersburg for the season opening race. In her first season in the World Series in 2007, Mann became the first female to score a point in the series and started from the pole position in her debut race weekend.
Prior to joining the World Series, Pippa made stops in the British Formula Renault Championship, the French Formula Renault Championship, and the Formula Renault Eurocup. Pippa was also one of two females to compete in Karting's Formula A European and World Championships when she did so in 2002 and 2003.