Continued from part 1 Q: Ryan, I would think if you're going to finish the schedule with RuSPORT, there's probably going to be some talk somewhere down the line, maybe already has gone on, about you trying to latch on with this team full-time...
Continued from part 1
Q: Ryan, I would think if you're going to finish the schedule with RuSPORT, there's probably going to be some talk somewhere down the line, maybe already has gone on, about you trying to latch on with this team full-time for 2007 or some other team. Am I right?
RYAN BRISCOE: I mean, definitely for my future down the road, you know, it's time to start looking at various options. But for the time being with RuSPORT, we're just going to take it for these two races, Surfers Paradise and Mexico. It's definitely a chance for us to get to know each other. For the time being, we're just focusing a hundred percent on trying to do a good job here. Then for whatever plans down the road, we'll talk about that. For the time being, you know, it's definitely just we'll do what we can right now and then we'll see.
Q: Jeremy, talk about the synergy between these two guys. Just bringing a driver in for two races to end a season, you have to have good synergy between your existing driver and the guy you're bringing in. Talk about how you saw that part of it working.
JEREMY DALE: First of all, from the very beginning, in making the decision to go down and do a test at Sebring over three days with three drivers, so one day per driver, Justin was always in the plan in terms of his presence at the racetrack. I believe he was very helpful for all of the drivers. We were very clear with Justin, we talked about what we wanted him to do and what we wanted him to try and achieve coming out of the test. That was really simple: Is this guy going to be a good teammate for you? Is this guy going to be someone you think you can work with and who will make a contribution to this team?
That's why we didn't do it without Justin. It's precisely the reason we took him there. We had him involved and engaged and part of the process. I must say, to his credit, he did a tremendous job down there and he was really involved and engaged.
He's invested in the decision, if that makes sense. He's part of the decision. He fully supports bringing Ryan in for these last two races. I know he's not on the call right now obviously, but I'll speak for him because we have talked about it. He's excited to have Ryan as a teammate. He thinks he's going to be a great addition to the team. I'm pleased that he feels that way because he was part of the process.
Q: Ryan, during the test, were you also testing the team to see if this is a team that you wanted to be with?
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, I mean, obviously I was down there getting to know everyone. Obviously I was forming my own ideas of the team, yeah, absolutely. But I've got to say, it's got to be one of the -- I mean, I haven't had a whole lot of experience with them yet, but it's got to be one of the most professional teams I've ever had experience with. It was definitely all positive from my point of view.
Q: Jeremy, even though you found the driver that you want for the rest of the year, this has to be the good and bad of racing because of the fact that he's having to replace Cristiano in this situation.
JEREMY DALE: Yeah, it's a very good point. You know, every day since August 3rd our hearts have been with Cristiano and his family. I'm just so pleased that he is making the phenomenal recovery he is.
We have been very clear with Ryan, and he understands where we're at. As we look at the remainder of '06, we potentially look into '07, we do that with one eye on Cristiano and his recovery, and one eye on these two races and the potential to take this relationship forward.
As Ryan already said, this is one step at a time. That's the way we laid it out. We said, Listen, let's identify the candidates. Let's go down to Sebring. Let's take the first step. That's a test, okay. Let's identify a driver. Let's go and do the last two races. That's the next step. Along the way we keep an eye on Cristiano, how he's doing.
It is a difficult thing to do, but it's not the first time in this sport, and it won't be the last time in this sport. That may sound a bit harsh. It's not meant to. It's the reality of this business and this sport.
Ryan recognizes that and Cristiano recognizes that. That's just the reality of where we're at.
Q: Jeremy, was there any question about the fact that Ryan was available and not necessarily bringing money with him to get this job?
JEREMY DALE: No. What we were looking to do was identify three drivers that we felt were good guys to test. We did that. You'd like to test more, but there's only so many days on the calendar. So we identified three guys. Off we went.
That was never in our mind. With this team, it has never been in our mind. It's just not a way -- it's not the way we approach it. We believe that these guys have a job to do, and finding sponsors is not necessarily part of that job. Sometimes certain drivers will attract sponsors, and that's fine. That's icing on the cake, as it were. But Ryan's job is to go to Surfers Paradise and to go to Mexico City and apply himself 100% to getting good race results. There's a lot that goes into that.
I want to take a step back. Gordon's question was an interesting one. Ryan answered it in a modest way. A driver can make a plan for how they approach a corner, make a plan, be methodical about how they approach a lap or a session in a car or a day at the races or a race weekend or an entire championship season. Ryan is more towards the end. I mean, he came there with a very clear idea of how to approach the test. It wasn't lap by lap. It wasn't outing by outing. That's a big part of why we've asked him to join us, because we think he has a very mature, broad-based view. That's what a professional race car driver does. We believe he very much fits that category.
Q: Ryan, being from Australia, will it be difficult for you to parcel out your time because you're going to be learning a new track, dealing with a new team, dealing with the media in Australia who are known to be rabid?
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, it's a good point. I mean, I think Surfers Paradise is one of the biggest events on the calendar, especially being Australia, it's going to get busy up there. I'm definitely going to keep focused and keep what the priority of this weekend is in mind, and that's about working hard with RuSPORT and applying myself fully to get a good result.
Obviously there will be a lot of people trying to keep me as busy as possible up there promotion-wise, and I'm going to have to obviously give them as much time as I can, but never losing sight of what the goal of this coming weekend is. I'm just going to try to be smart about it and make sure I'm always well-rested and focused when the time comes to drive the car.
Q: Ryan, what is the difference between driving for Champ Car compared to IRL? How can you compare the two cars?
RYAN BRISCOE: The cars themselves, they're not a whole lot too different to drive. That's again going to play into my favor coming into Champ Car at the end of the season. You know, they're both very exciting cars to drive. Champ Car has a little bit more horsepower, and that's really the main thing that sticks out. A bit more power out of the corners which you need to control a bit more for wheel spin and so on. But essentially, you know, they're very similar race cars. I mean, they weigh about the same. The driving style, from my experience, is very similar.
Not a big difference. I mean, I love -- when it comes to the road courses, they're both fantastic cars to race.
Q: With there being a good historical precedence for different Aussie drivers making their Champ Car debut in Surfers Paradise, what is your thought on joining that particular list? What has been the feedback from your friends and family back home?
RYAN BRISCOE: It's just so exciting. I haven't raced in Australia since I left here at the age of 15 to race go-karts. Just recently with the two endurance touring car races I had this past month and a half, all of a sudden I've been able to have family and friends come to the track. So it's been something new and different for me and very exciting.
So, definitely, to be debuting in Champ Car in my own country, you know, very exciting. I mean, it's great to have so much support from friends here doing so. Everyone that's close to me is very excited for me. It's definitely a good feeling.
Q: Jeremy, how much, if at all, did Ryan's seat time in the pre-season with PKV factor into making this decision?
JEREMY DALE: It didn't. As a matter of fact, it's a funny thing. The three guys we tested, we tested Ronnie Bremer, who has a full season in Champ Car in '05, and Ryan, who I believe had two days in a PKV car at Sebring, is that correct?
RYAN BRISCOE: Yes.
JEREMY DALE: That was the extent of his Champ Car experience. And Adam Carroll, who literally had never seen Sebring and never sat in a Champ Car. Of course, that made it a bit more challenging for us to make a decision because you have those three guys starting from a different baseline.
We were willing to take a look at anyone. It wasn't based on experience either in a Champ Car or at Sebring, per se.
ERIC MAUK: Ryan will be the sixth Australian-born driver to run in the Champ Car event at Surfers Paradise. Five of those drivers, including Ryan, made their Champ Car debut in that race going back to Gary Brabham, also including guys like Jason Bright, David Besnard, and Will Power, who is leading the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year points this year. He actually made his Champ Car debut as Surfers last year with Team Australia.
We'll go ahead and wrap up our Champ Car teleconference. Again, congratulations to both Ryan Briscoe and Jeremy Dale, everyone with RuSPORT, another big announcement. We look forward to seeing you guys down in Surfers Paradise.