CHAMPCAR/CART: San Jose: Team Australia helps launch 2007 chassis

TEAM AUSTRALIA HELPS LAUNCH EXCITING NEW CHAMP CAR IN SAN JOSE Team Australia has played a part in a historic day in the future of Champ Car World Series today in San Jose, California, with the public unveiling of the new Panoz DP01, the ...


Team Australia has played a part in a historic day in the future of Champ Car World Series today in San Jose, California, with the public unveiling of the new Panoz DP01, the exclusive car of the Champ Car World Series from 2007.

Team Australia drivers Alex Tagliani and Queenslander Will Power, Team Australia Co-Owner Derrick Walker and Team Australia Paint Shop Manager Scott Turner were all present on behalf of the Aussie Vineyards-backed team at today's ceremony, which saw the first public viewing of the new, Amercian-built Champ Car.

This first car features a striking livery created by renowned design house Troy Lee Designs and was painted by Team Australia's paint shop manager Turner along with PKV Racing brushman Jason Smith. Turner and Smith used the latest Planet Colour technology from Sherwin-Williams, the Official Automotive Finishers of the Champ Car World Series, to finish the car.

Turner, who has worked for Team Australia Co-Owner Walker for seven years, travelled to Atlanta to complete the paint scheme, which took five days to finish.

The car will herald a new and exciting era for the Champ Car World Series. The car has been constructed entirely at the Elan Motorsports Technologies facilities in Braselton, Georgia, USA. Elan Motorsports Technologies, owned by prominent motorsport entrepreneur Don Panoz, won the rights to build the exclusive chassis for the Champ Car World Series in October 2005.

The Panoz DP01 Champ Car is designed to provide great racing for the fans, as well as affordability for teams. Cost containment on the car will not mean sacrificing performance or the latest technologies, two things that have long been hallmarks of the Champ Car World Series.

The car will feature cutting-edge technologies that will allow the series to maintain its standing as one of the most challenging anywhere in the world, with its drivers fighting for victories without the aid of traction control or other electronic driving aids.

More than 20,000 hours went into the design and construction of the new chassis, which is designed to be faster, lighter and safer than the current Lola Champ Car. The chassis is more than 100 pounds lighter than the current car, but features a number of safety innovations, including a collapsible fuel cell that will provide even more protection for drivers.

The aerodynamics of the DP01 have been distributed so that the majority of downforce is created by the underbody tunnels and not the wings. This creates less turbulence behind the race car, allowing for closer racing and more passing.

Other developments include a higher nose with a two-stage crash impact system, with the lower wishbones being mounted below the tub on a keel, rather than the side of the chassis, reducing the risk of suspension parts piercing the driver cell in a crash. Higher cockpit sides and F1-style crash test performance will also make the Panoz DP01 an extremely safe car. The higher nose also helps distribute airflow to the floor, which in turn creates downforce.

The DP01 Champ Car will also feature a paddle shift gear change system, with small paddles behind the steering wheel replacing the gear stick used in the past. The paddle shift system is also linked with the throttle system of the turbocharged Ford-Cosworth engine, allowing drivers to downshift without lifting off the throttle, something that is not possible in the current car.

An onboard starter is also included in the car to allow drivers to restart unaided if they stall the engine in a spin or standing start, greatly reducing the frequency of caution periods for stalled cars.

The Ford-Cosworth 2.6 litre turbocharged engine will be redeveloped for the Panoz DP01, giving Champ Car more horsepower for 2007.

One year ago at the 2005 San Jose Champ Car Grand Prix, Champ Car Co-Owner Kevin Kalkhoven unveiled the rejuvenated Champ Car Atlantic Championship with a new Swift chassis, Mazda-Cosworth engine and $US2million first prize for the series champion to put towards a drive in Champ Car the following year.

That announcement was met with a commitment by Team Australia to enter two cars in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship and from that exciting day both the Atlantic category and Team Australia have risen to new heights.

The Atlantic series is now critically-acclaimed as one of the most professional and competitive open-wheel feeder categories in the world, with well over 20 cars at every round, and Team Australia recruit Simon Pagenaud currently leads the championship standings in his #15 Aussie Vineyards/Location U Swift.


Alex Tagliani -- #15 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola

"I think the car is amazing," said Tagliani.

"I really think that the new 2007 car is what they say, the future of open wheel racing. It has the look along with a lot of technical new things to make sure that there is going to be more passing next year.

"It's going to be a very good car to race on street courses and we all know that street courses are the key to success for Champ Car. Everyone is really excited about the car. It's just fantastic to see this finally happen.

"It's great to see change and to have something like this that will represent Champ Car for many years. So many teams have been with Lolas for such a long time, it's definitely time for a change.

"Champ Car is moving in the right direction and I can't wait to get a drive of the new car."

Will Power -- #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola

"I love the new car, it's a really good design," sai Power.

"I can see that they made the effort to make it easier to follow cars and a lot easier to pass. It looks like it's going to be faster and lighter. It's a better car all around.

"I think the new Champ Car will be a lot better because it's lighter and has more downforce, which should be faster. It's also nice since they have bumped up the engine by increasing the horsepower.

"Everyone is starting on even ground and will even everything out on the teams. I'm excited for the future and I'm really looking forward to driving it."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"It was a fantastic evening with a great launch of the new car, a new venture for Champ Car, a new start, and a new formula," said Walker.

"The car is fantastic and it looks like it really will be the car for Champ Car for the future. I'm really happy and congratulations to Kevin Kalkohven and Gerry Forsythe for making it happen."

"The launch of the new car is the first completely new designed Champ Car in its history. The previous cars have been similar versions of the last and the Panoz DP01 is the first unique kind. It's fantastic because this car compliments the teams' budgets and styles and suits a modern day race shop.

"The new car is further evidence that Champ Car is making a healthy return to American racing."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"The new Panoz car is really the next step in the evolution of the Champ Car World Series," said Gore.

"Kevin Kalkhoven and his team must be congratulated for their endless efforts to take this championship to new heights. I cannot wait to see a full field of these cars doing battle."

Scott Turner -- Team Australia Paint Shop Manager

"We had a lot of meetings to prepare for our trip to Atlanta," said Turner.

"The paint scheme is really interesting, the orange and chrome was interesting to paint as well. It took a while, but the finished product turned out well and I'm really excited I got to be apart of it."

Kevin Kalkhoven -- Champ Car Co-Owner

"The 2007 Champ Car was designed with three objectives in mind," said Kalkhoven.

"First, to increase the excitement for the fans by allowing closer racing and more overtaking.

"Second, to level the playing field for all teams, which will also increase fan excitement.

"Third, to make a dramatic decrease in the costs for the teams thereby allowing new teams to join the series.

"This car achieves all three objectives."

David Bowes -- Elan Motorsports Technologies CEO

"There are few opportunities available these days for constructors to develop all-new race cars from a clean sheet of paper, using the very latest in development techniques and design tools," said Bowes.

"The DP01 is such a car. It will prove to be the benchmark design for many years to come."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Jason Smith , Don Panoz , Scott Turner , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud , Kevin Kalkhoven
Teams Williams