Report from Motorsport News International Thanks to CART Online CART Online (November 19) -- Canadian driver Patrick Carpentier, who recently captured the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year award in the PPG CART World Series, will join fellow ...
Report from Motorsport News International
Thanks to CART Online
CART Online (November 19) -- Canadian driver Patrick Carpentier, who recently captured the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year award in the PPG CART World Series, will join fellow countryman Greg Moore on the Player's/Forsythe Racing CART Team for the 1998 season. Carpentier and Moore will each drive Reynard Mercedes-Benz race cars on Firestone tires.
The 26-year-old French Canadian joins the team as a final step in the Player's Driver Development Program (DDP). He won the 1996 Player's/Atlantic championship and also received support from the company in his rookie CART season with Team Alumax/Bettenhausen Motorsports.
"Player's has been an important part of my success for the past three seasons and they have once again showed tremendous faith in me," said Carpentier, whose best finish of 1997 was second place at Gateway International Raceway. "I believe this is the best move for my career development, since Player's devotes a lot of time and attention to creating the best possible environment for their drivers, both on and off the track."
For third-year driver Greg Moore, who hails from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, the arrival of a new teammate marks an important step in the team's championship aspirations.
"Patrick and I came in together (in 1995) with the Player's DDP and we have always had a good relationship," he said. "I am confident that we will feed off each other and with our Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone package, we should be in front of the pack consistently next season."
The decision to add a second car to its CART operations has brought a new focus to the Player's Driver Development Program. After fielding teams at the Indy Lights and Atlantic levels last season, Player's has opted to remain active in only one development series for open-wheel racing in 1998. The Indy Lights team, which was a Forsythe operation in 1995 and 1996, will be discontinued, but the Atlantic program will continue with two familiar drivers.
The pairing for the 1998 Player's Atlantic Team will be made up of Canadians Alex Tagliani and Lee Bentham who finished fifth in the overall standings as a rookie in Indy Lights and was runner-up to Patrick Carpentier in the Atlantic series in 1996.
The new structure means that David Empringham and Bertrand Godin, who have given Canadian fans a lot to cheer about over the years, won't be back behind the wheel of a Player's car next season. However, they have both been offered tremendous opportunities to pursue new careers in motorsport, including within the Player's DDP if they are so inclined.
Player's will make an announcement about its slate of partially-funded drivers in the next couple of months.