French teenager Nelson Philippe signs with Rocketsports Racing for 2004 Champ Car World Series Long Beach, Calif. (March 8, 2004) -- Rocketsports Racing announced today that it has signed young French driver Nelson Philippe to compete in the...
French teenager Nelson Philippe signs with Rocketsports Racing for 2004 Champ Car World Series
Long Beach, Calif. (March 8, 2004) -- Rocketsports Racing announced today that it has signed young French driver Nelson Philippe to compete in the 2004 Champ Car World Series. The announcement was made at the Champ Car World Series Season Premiere in Long Beach, California.
The personable 17 year old will take the wheel of the No. 17 Rocketsports/LeasePlan Lola, making him the youngest driver to enter the Champ Car championship.
Philippe competed in the Barber Dodge Pro Series last season and has been testing with several Champ Car teams since September, 2003. He is delighted to secure a drive with one of the most competitive outfits in the series.
"We have been in talks with several teams, but Rocketsports with team owner Paul Gentilozzi was the most appealing," explained Philippe. "Paul has an impressive racing record of his own and his professional approach to racing was an important element to me. I feel privileged to be part of the team.
"During a meeting with the crew earlier this year I felt they had strong team values. I can't wait for the season to start, to get to know them better and become part of the family," added Philippe.
Philippe, a Miami resident, will partner Canadian Alex Tagliani in Rocketsports' two-car assault in the 2004 Champ Car championship. "Alex is someone I respect a lot for his achievements and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can from his extensive experience in racing," said Philippe about his new team mate.
Team owner, Paul Gentilozzi welcomed the young gun, saying: "We have followed Nelson's career development and monitored his testing sessions. When we got in touch with him we were impressed by his personality, which fits with our team philosophy, and we were glad to be able to sign him.
"We now have a very competitive line-up for this season, with Alex, who will be competing for regular podium positions, and Nelson, who can aim for a top-three finish in the rookie standings," concluded Gentilozzi.
Philippe is sponsored by LeasePlan, a leading global vehicle leasing and fleet management company, who have supported him since his early days in racing.
"We have helped Nelson from a very young age when he was racing karts from Europe to South America to the United States," said Brian Calloway, LeasePlan's Senior Vice President of Marketing, "and we are pleased to have watched him accomplish his many racing goals at such a quick pace.
"LeasePlan felt supporting Nelson in the Champ Car World Series was our next logical step. We are very proud to be associated with such a young, driven and dedicated driver, and the Champ Car World Series is the perfect stage to showcase our unique partnership," determined Calloway.
Philippe will begin his journey as part of the Rocketsports team at the Champ Car World Series Season Premiere Fan Fest on March 9th from 5-8 PM at the Long Beach Convention Center Arena. He will then join the Rocketsports crew for testing in Phoenix, Arizona on March 11th.