INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 11, 2004) -- Fernandez Racing today announced that owner/driver Adrian Fernandez will compete in the 2004 IRL IndyCarÂ® Series beginning with the Indy 200 Copper World Classic in Phoenix on March 21. Fernandez will drive...
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 11, 2004) -- Fernandez Racing today announced that owner/driver Adrian Fernandez will compete in the 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series beginning with the Indy 200 Copper World Classic in Phoenix on March 21. Fernandez will drive a Honda-powered Panoz G Force chassis on Firestone tires with sponsorship from long-time supporters Quaker State, Telmex and Tecate and new partner Aceros Vilag.
"Obviously this is a big move for us particularly at this late stage," said Fernandez. "We have reviewed a lot of things the past few days, and had to take a hard look at what we know at this point in time to determine what is best for our sponsors and the future of Fernandez Racing. With the support of Quaker State, Telmex, Tecate and Aceros Vilag, we have made the decision to enter the IRL.
"Personally, it is never easy to make a decision like this particularly when you factor in the friendships and relationships that have developed over many years for not only myself but everyone at Fernandez Racing. I will always be thankful for my years in Champ Car racing -- where they have taken me in my career and for the tremendous support of the fans along the way."
Formed in 2002 by ex-Formula One driver Aguri Suzuki, the Super Aguri Company, Adrian Fernandez and Fernandez Racing, Super Aguri Fernandez Racing entered the IndyCar Series in 2003. The team currently fields rookie Kosuke Matsuura in the #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone entry. Fernandez's campaign will be run under the Fernandez Racing banner.
"We are extremely excited to once again have our team's efforts focused on one championship which includes the Indianapolis 500," said Tom Anderson, team owner and managing director. "This is a tremendous step reuniting our great sponsors from Japan and Mexico. We sincerely appreciate the effort all of them have put forth in order to make this possible."
Fernandez will make his IRL IndyCar Series debut in the Indy 200 Copper World Classic -- the second event on the 16-race 2004 IndyCar schedule -- at Phoenix International Raceway. Fernandez last competed on the one-mile oval in 1995.
"It is an understatement to say we have a lot of work to do in the next 11 days," added Fernandez. "I'm sure there will be challenges but we have a very experienced team in both Fernandez Racing and Super Aguri Fernandez Racing and will be able to help each other. It will definitely be an asset to run a two-car team and be able to build off each other.
"I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends next week at Phoenix -- Tony [Kanaan], Dario [Franchitti], Helio [Castroneves], Bryan [Herta], Darren [Manning], Michael [Andretti]-- I am also looking forward to returning to Motegi next month where I have won twice, and also to the month of May and the Indy 500. We are hitting the ground running and I know we will have a lot of support along the way."