INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing today announced that Darren Manning will drive the ...
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing today announced that Darren Manning will drive the #10 Target Toyota Panoz G Force next year in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. Manning, 28, spent this season driving for Walker Racing in the Champ Car World Series. Team owner Chip Ganassi is excited to have the Englishman join the 2003 IRL Champions.
"Darren has shown over the years that he is an extremely talented driver," said Ganassi. "We're excited to have him on board with us for the 2004 season. He's a guy that really fits in to this organization. I have no doubt that he'll adapt quickly to these cars and compete for a championship."
Manning spent last season with Walker Racing and scored his best finish of the season at the season finale in Surfer's Paradise, Australia, coming home 2nd. In three races on oval tracks in his career, he has finished 9th or better in each one including a 4th place finish at Milwaukee this season. The former F1 test driver is ready for the challenge.
"When I heard about the opportunity, I had to jump at it," Manning explained. Team Target has proven that they are one of the premier organizations in all of motorsports. Their legacy of winning championships is amazing and it's an honor to drive for them. What they did this year proves even more that they are the team to beat and I'm truly excited to be a part of their team. I've fared pretty well on ovals so far in my career, so I'm confident that I'll be successful next year in the Indy Racing League."
Manning began his racing career in karts at the age of ten and quickly moved into the more powerful open-wheel formula cars in England. After numerous victories in Formula Vauxhall and in F3, Manning went to compete in the All Japan F3 championship. Mannin won the title with 6 victories that season, including leading every lap in winning the prestigious Macau Grand Prix. That caught the attention of the BAR Honda Formula 1 team, who made him a test driver for the 2000 through 2002 seasons. In 2002, he made his Champ Car debut at Rockingham Motor Speedway and led 18 laps on the tricky 1.5-mile oval, en route to a 9th place finish for Team St. George.
Manning joins 2003 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon who led the series in laps led (748), wins (3), poles (5) and races led (14). Dixon is looking forward to having Manning as a teammate.
"I've raced against him before and I'm impressed with him," said Dixon. "He's a good guy and he's going to be a good teammate as well."
Dixon and Manning resume a busy off-season testing schedule next month at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation for another title chase in 2004.