NICKY PASTORELLI TO RUN FULL-TIME IN THE ...
NICKY PASTORELLI TO RUN FULL-TIME IN THE #8 ROCKETSPORTS RACING CHAMP CAR
EAST LANSING, Michigan (April 28, 2006) - After three most-recent Champ Car tests, Nicky Pastorelli of Holland has demonstrated that his driving skills are enough to match the demands of running with the top drivers in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford and Rocketsports Racing is proud to announce the signing of Pastorelli to run in its #8 entry for the 2006 season.
Born in The Hague, Netherlands, the Italo-Dutch driver comes from mixed parentage. His father is Italian and his mother is Dutch. He was first introduced to the sport of karting at the age of ten. He drove his first laps at an empty parking lot. Pastorelli fell in love with the sport and less than a year later he was making practice laps at the professional Strijen Circuit.
In 1993, he started in the Mini League followed by Junior League, in which he had his first successes. At the age of 14, Pastorelli became a member of Peter de Bruin's karting team. He stayed there for several seasons and drove the ICA and Formula A Leagues. In 2000, he moved to the Formula Arcobaleno League. Competing in six out of eight races, he won the pole position five times, earned three wins, and finished third in the Dutch Championship. In 2001 he entered the Formula Renault 2000 European Championship before moving into the Euro 3000 Series in 2003, where he earned two second place finishes and finished fifth in the championship. He was crowned the Superfund Euro 3000 Champion and earned his first chance to drive a Champ Car with Walker Racing at Sebring. Pastorelli was a F1 test driver in 2005 with Jordan, and was the first driver to be officially introduce d in the "Young Driver Programme" initiated by Midland F1 to help promising junior drivers develop their talent in preparation for entry to Formula One.
The 23-year-old was a guest of Rocketsports in Long Beach. Although he was sidelined in Long Beach, he did know what it was going to feel like being behind the wheel after just completing a test with Dale Coyne Racing in Fontana with a majority of the Champ Car field. "What a weekend it was!" said Pastorelli on being a special guest of the Rocketsports team. "The race weekend at Long Beach was a really fantastic experience. The whole event was excellent and very busy with large crowds of spectators during the whole weekend. They perfectly know how to entertain the racing fans there at Long Beach. It was also a great opportunity for me to get to see the Rocketsports crew in action to get a feel for what it would be like driving for them if the opportunity presented itself."
Pastorelli's enthusiasm in the pits was strong, as he explained how much fun it is to drive a Champ Car and how bad he wanted to be driving out there in Long Beach. Rocketsports then invited him to test with them in Portland a few days after the Long Beach event, followed by a most-recent test in Milwaukee where Pastorelli turned laps on an oval for the first time in his career.
"I am very excited to join the Rocketsports Racing team," said Pastorelli on his announcement to drive the #8 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone Champ Car. "I have enjoyed working with the team and getting to know them, along with the car. They have helped me out a lot and I know that I can learn a lot this season by working with them. Houston will be a good opportunity for me to make my Champ Car debut because since it is a new venue to all the teams and drivers, it will be a level playing field and technically I won't be "a rookie" on that course. Every driver will b e in the same situation as me, learning the track and finding a good race set-up. It will be a great challenge, one that I really looking forward to in addition to the other events that I will be racing in this year with Rocketsports."
Pastorelli will attempt to make his first Champ Car start in Houston, Texas on May 13. Champ Car is making its return to the Houston market after last competing on the downtown streets in 2001. The new edition of the Champ Car Houston Grand Prix will take place at Reliant Park, site of the Houston Texans' Reliant Stadium as well as the historic Houston Astrodome. The event will be held under the lights, marking the second time that Champ Car has run a night race on a temporary circuit.