RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING AND TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING JOIN FORCES TO ENTER 2007 FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS CHAMP ALEX LLOYD IN INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS (April 9, 2008) -- Two of the most successful teams in American open-wheel racing announced...
RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING AND TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING JOIN FORCES TO ENTER 2007 FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS CHAMP ALEX LLOYD IN INDIANAPOLIS 500
INDIANAPOLIS (April 9, 2008) -- Two of the most successful teams in American open-wheel racing announced a partnership today that will provide an opportunity for one of the IndyCar Series' brightest young talents to compete in this year's Indianapolis 500.
During Wednesday's Indianapolis 500 Media Tour, Rahal Letterman Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing revealed that they would work together in fielding an entry for 2007 Firestone Indy Lights champion Alex Lloyd for the 92nd running of this year's Memorial Day classic. The #16 Dallara/Honda/Firestone Indy Car will be run out of the RLR stable for the month of May, with the Ohio-based team working closely with TCGR to ensure that Lloyd -- who is under a developmental contract with Target Chip Ganassi Racing -- receives the benefit of working with engineers and mechanics from both teams.
"This is something that we have been wanting to do for a while now and an opportunity with Bobby and his team is perfect for us," said Target Chip Ganassi team owner Chip Ganassi. "I really think everyone is going to be hearing a lot about Alex Lloyd in the coming years. He is one of the sport's future stars."
Rahal Letterman Racing has had a great tradition of bringing quality young talent to the forefront at Indianapolis, with drivers such as Buddy Rice, Vitor Meira and Danica Patrick all having had top-five runs with the team at Indy -- topped by Rice's victory in 2004. Target Chip Ganassi has had similar success at Indy, including Juan Pablo Montoya's win in 2000 in what was his first IndyCar Series start. Between them, the two teams have 75 open-wheel victories in less than two decades of competition.
"Alex Lloyd has shown that he is more than ready to take on the Indianapolis 500 and we are genuinely excited about the opportunity before us as we prepare for the month of May in Indy," said RLR co-owner Bobby Rahal. "We look forward to working with everyone at Target Chip Ganassi Racing and we expect that this will not only help Alex, but also will benefit Team Ethanol driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will also be making his first Indy start."
Lloyd won the Firestone Indy Lights (then known as the Indy Pro Series) title in dominating fashion in 2007, setting series records for victories (8), consecutive victories (5) and top-five finishes (13). His 171-point margin over second-placed Hideki Mutoh was also the largest in FIL history and his 10 career Indy Lights wins are the most in the seven-year history of the series.
"There's just something about Indy that is so very special," Lloyd said. "You want to go there to watch a race, you want to go there to race, you want to go there to win. I am looking forward to be able to race in the Indianapolis 500. I just moved to Indianapolis to be near the team and to be near this Speedway."
The combined Rahal Letterman Racing with Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry will make its debut on-track at Indianapolis on Sunday, May 4 as Lloyd joins a host of other first-timers looking to get their likenesses added to the fabled Borg-Warner Trophy. The rookie orientation process begins at Indy on May 3, allowing drivers to slowly work their way up to speed before the full field opens practice on May 6. Further details about the Rahal Letterman Racing with Target Chip Ganassi entry will be released as they become available.