IndyCar champ Scott Dixon believes Max Chilton will benefit Chip Ganassi Racing, despite the ex-F1 driver being a rookie in the series.
The reigning and four-time IndyCar champion told Motorsport.com: “Max has got a lot of knowledge from many different cars, and once you get to this level, any driver brings a lot of substantial information.
“Your style, your pattern of what you do is pretty well molded, so no matter who it is, he’s going to bring experience. That means everyone can learn from each other.”
Dixon, who has finished in the top three in the IndyCar championship for the past nine years, said he welcomes Chip Ganassi Racing running four cars again, after winter speculation that the team would downsize to just three entries.
“So long as the programs are run effectively – which is always true at this team – I think it’s great," he said. "With the deal being put together early so the right people are hired, you have this extra supply of information.
"I suppose it doesn’t make a lot of difference between three cars and four, but if the information is there, it’s definitely usable.”
Consistent line-up aids stability
Last year, the No. 8 Ganassi entry was driven by 20-year-old rookie Sage Karam for 12 races, and Sebastian Saavedra for four. Dixon said having just one driver in the fourth car for 2016 would benefit the whole Ganassi team.
He commented: “I think if you can add stability and not switch from driver to driver, for sure it’s going to help. Every driver feels and likes things different, so if you have consistency of driver lineup, it gives the team a good track to follow.
“Whether it was Dario [Franchitti] and myself or now TK [Tony Kanaan] and myself, it’s good for the team to know that if this works on the #9 car, it should work on the #10, and vice versa. It’s good for team direction to have input from the same people.”
Dixon was at IndyCar Media Day to unveil the new retro Target colorscheme on the #9 Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara-Chevrolet, which harks back to CGR’s glory run of four straight CART Indy car titles by Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi (2) and Juan Pablo Montoya, from 1996 through ’99.
Steve Lauletta, president of CGR, said: "“Heading into such an historic season with the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, the Lightning Bolt paint scheme taps into some of the most memorable times in Target’s longstanding partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing.
"Scott Dixon will be carrying a big part of history with him in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season, not only as the four-time and defending Champion for Team Target, but with the livery of past Target Champions such as Vasser, Zanardi and Montoya from a very special era in Target’s racing history.”