CHAMPCAR/CART: St. Pete: Patrick Racing preview

Visteon/Patrick Racing sets sights on 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford title. JACKSON, MI - - FEBRUARY 18, 2003 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing begins the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series...

Visteon/Patrick Racing sets sights on 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford title.

JACKSON, MI - - FEBRUARY 18, 2003 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing begins the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season this weekend with the season opening inaugural Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with it sights firmly set on the prize.the 2003 Vanderbilt Cup award to the series champion.

Visteon/Patrick Racing starts the 2003 season with a new engine, a new chassis and some new faces among the crew. The team will campaign one car with Oriol Servia returning to pilot the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which will be powered by Ford-Cosworth and use a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires.

Among the personnel changes is veteran Champ Car Engineer, Steve Challis, who has taken over as Director of Engineering, while Don Oldenburg, who has been with the team since 1997, will assume the responsibilities of Crew Chief.

Servia, 28, is a proven winner having captured the 1999 Dayton Indy Lights Championship. Now in his fourth Champ Car season and second with Visteon/Patrick Racing, he has earned 23 top-ten finishes including six top- five showings and one podium (third, Detroit - 2000) in 53 career Champ Car starts. The native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain ran the first three races of the 2002 season with PacWest Racing before signing with Visteon/Patrick Racing for the final 10 events. Servia finished in the points in eight of his 13 starts and five of ten with Visteon/Patrick Racing. He had six top- ten showings; four coming with Visteon/Patrick Racing, including two top- five finishes. The resident of Miami, Florida placed 16th in the championship standings with 44 points.

"I am excited to start the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season," Servia began. "The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team had a good winter of testing and we are ready for the start of the season. This is the most prepared both my team and I have been for a start of the season since I began racing Champ Cars," he noted. "The first race of the season is always exciting. It gives you a good idea of where you are versus the competition, but after the first race there is still plenty of work to be done and lots of things to learn," Servia continued.

Commenting on the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Servia said, "The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is a good first race for the Champ Car World Series. We have a lot of new drivers in the series, but this is the first time we will race on the streets of St. Petersburg, so it is like everybody is a rookie. From what I could see when we visited the track the St. Petersburg circuit has a lot of quick, wide corners, so it should be a good race and very exciting for the fans."

The 2003 Champ Car World Series season will mark the 31st year of open wheel competition for Patrick Racing and the sixth year of it alliance with Visteon Corporation. Considered one of the premier teams, Patrick Racing is owned and led by one of the most respected names in motorsports, U. E. "Pat" Patrick. Patrick became involved in racing in the sixties as a sponsor. By 1970 he had founded his own team and in 1978 became the co- founder of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). Patrick drivers have started 769 races, earning 45 victories including three Indianapolis 500 titles and two national championships.

General Manager Jim McGee oversees the team's operation from its Indianapolis, Indiana base. McGee, who is entering his 44th year of Champ Car competition, has amassed the most victories by a Manager/Chief Mechanic with 89. His record includes four Indianapolis 500 titles and nine national championships. McGee is the only Manager/Chief Mechanic to win a championship in four decades (60's - 90's). He has at least one victory in each of his last five decades (his 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's) and at least one victory in each of the last five decades (60's - 00).

With the leadership of "Pat" Patrick and Jim McGee, the driving talent of Oriol Servia, a car that is powered by Ford-Cosworth with a Lola chassis and Bridgestone tires plus the sponsorship of Visteon Corporation, Visteon/Patrick Racing is expected to be among the top challengers for the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford title.

For background, statistical information, releases, notes, quotes plus updates on race weekends, go to (www.patrickracing.com).

-pr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia