Foyt Racing Hires Rookie Franck Perera to Drive No. 41 ABC Supply Car at Chicagoland WALLER, Texas Sept. 3, 2008--Veteran driver Darren Manning will have a rookie teammate in the final points race of the IndyCar Series. Franck Perera, 24,...
Foyt Racing Hires Rookie Franck Perera to Drive No. 41 ABC Supply Car at Chicagoland
WALLER, Texas Sept. 3, 2008--Veteran driver Darren Manning will have a rookie teammate in the final points race of the IndyCar Series. Franck Perera, 24, will drive the No. 41 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda in the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. It will be his second IndyCar race on an oval track, and third IRL IndyCar Series event (excluding the Long Beach Grand Prix).
"I would like to thank A.J Foyt and ABC Supply for giving me the chance to get back into an Indy Car this weekend in Chicago," said Perera. "It's a huge pleasure to work with a team like Foyt Racing with so much experience and such a big name in racing."
"I thought Franck did a good job in the couple of IndyCar races he ran earlier and he's been impressive in the Indy Lights Series this year," said team owner A.J. Foyt. "I want to see how he jells with our team."
Team Director Larry Foyt brought the French driver to his father's attention as the team begins its scouting process for a driver for a possible second car in 2009.
"At the beginning of the year, I noticed that Franck was one of the quickest among the transition team drivers to adapt to the Indy cars," said Larry Foyt. "He fared well on the oval in Homestead [FL] and qualified well at St. Pete. We thought then that he was a talented driver and, as we're looking to become a two-car team next year, we thought he might be a good asset to our program. We'll see how we get along with him this weekend."
Perera started the year driving for the Conquest Racing team. He qualified 13th in the season opener at Homestead-Miami and finished 14th; it was the best performance among the transition team drivers. In St. Petersburg, he qualified 10th, ran as high as second, and was running ninth when he and Vitor Meira made contact on lap 75, ending their race. At Long Beach, he qualified third and finished sixth.
"Coming from European Racing, I have really enjoyed racing in America and this is where I want to stay," said the talented driver who was born in Montpelier, France. "After Conquest lost their team sponsor for me earlier this season, I turned down a drive in Europe because I wanted my future to be in Indy cars. So I joined Guthrie Racing to learn more about the ovals and to stay in the Indy Racing League with the hope of returning to the IndyCar Series in the future.
"I especially want to thank CJMotorsport, who gave me the chance to continue racing after the Toyota Driver Development Program," said Perera, who won the World Karting Championship at age 15. "With the series merger, it's been a tough year for many drivers like me, so I'm very thankful that Foyt Racing and ABC Supply are giving me this incredible opportunity to be in the final IRL race in Chicago this weekend. I will do my best to help the team and Darren get the best results for the last race of 2008."
Perera made nine starts in the Indy Lights Series (which include the doubleheaders at the road course events), he won two poles (Watkins Glen and Infineon) and qualified second at the Series' other road course event in Mid-Ohio. Finishing second at Mid-Ohio, he won Infineon--his first Indy Lights Series triumph. His other top-10 finishes came at Nashville (7th) and Infineon. He finished fifth in second race of the Infineon doubleheader after starting eighth (when they inverted the top eight finishers from the first race).
Foyt will bring in the same crew that worked on the No. 41 ABC Supply entry in the Indianapolis 500 earlier this year. It will be headed by longtime Foyt Racing Team Manager Craig Baranouski.
After this weekend, Perera, who speaks four languages (French, English, Italian and Spanish), may be adding a fifth--Texan.