Montreal, Quebec, November 21, 2000 Team Player's management announced today that Patrick Carpentier would once again team up with Alex Tagliani for the 2001 FedEx CART Championship, which begins on March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico. Carpentier, who...
Montreal, Quebec, November 21, 2000 Team Player's management announced today that Patrick Carpentier would once again team up with Alex Tagliani for the 2001 FedEx CART Championship, which begins on March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico.
Carpentier, who signed a one-year contract, plus an option year, will be entering his fourth season with Team Player's after producing a career-best season in 2000, when he compiled 101 points in the drivers' standings. The Joliette, Que., driver finished in the top 5 on seven occasions, including second place in Madison and third place in Milwaukee.
He will again be teamed with Alex Tagliani, who quickly served notice that he is one of the rising stars in the CART series. Tagliani won the pole in Brazil in only his third career start. The promising rookie also had the race lead 11 different times for a total of 113 laps last season. His top performance was a fourth-place finish in Long Beach.
"We are extremely pleased to maintain our association with two talented drivers who consistently give everything they have and who really want Team Player's to excel," said Mark Thorne, Sponsorship Manager for Player's Ltd. "The 2000 season was a challenging year for Team Player's, but we know that Patrick and Alex have what it takes to bring us to the next level and we will do everything we can to give Canadian fans a championship team in 2001."
Neil Micklewright, Vice-President of Operations for Team Player's, was equally enthusiastic to have the two Canadian drivers back in the fold for the 2001 season.
"Team Player's went through significant changes during the last year, mainly because we had a rookie driver and a new engine program with Ford," explained Micklewright. "The results that we were able to produce were indicative of a team that is making considerable progress. By going through some adversity, I believe that everyone involved with Team Player's gained the experience and maturity that are the strengths of the top teams, and I feel that we have all the elements in place to have an outstanding season in 2001."
In returning to Team Player's, Carpentier says he wants to reap the benefits of the hard work he's put in over the last three years, in an environment where he can fully exploit his talents.
"The loss of Greg (Moore) changed the team's dynamics and it took me a while to assume a leadership role, but this past season was quite eventful and I gained some maturity from it," remarked Carpentier. "You have to realize that there is going to be friction in auto racing, just as there is in every workplace. But I'm approaching the 2001 season with renewed confidence in the Team Player's operations and I'm convinced that our perseverance will pay off in the end."
Tagliani is fully aware that Team Player's will be on the hot seat in 2001, however, he believes he is now better prepared to handle the demands of the profession.
"It's hard to imagine the extent of the challenge when you make the jump to the CART series, because quite often you're facing the unknown," explained the Lachenaie, Que., driver who compiled 53 points in his rookie season. "But now I know what to expect and how to react in tight situations. I think I've proved that I can stand up to the challenge and I feel that, as a team, we have all the tools to be right in the thick of the championship hunt in 2001."
Team Player's, which is retaining the same chassis/engine package (Reynard-Ford) next season, will begin its off-season testing program on Dec. 19-20 at Sebring.