St. James Breaks New Ground by Fielding Her Own Car in Indy 500 INDIANAPOLIS, April 17 - Her athletic abilities already long established by her six appearances in the Indianapolis 500, Lyn St. James broke yet more new ground for women with...
St. James Breaks New Ground by Fielding Her Own Car in Indy 500
INDIANAPOLIS, April 17 - Her athletic abilities already long established by her six appearances in the Indianapolis 500, Lyn St. James broke yet more new ground for women with the announcement Thursday that she will be the owner, driver and entrant of the G-Force Infiniti she'll campaign at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next month.
St. James owned the car she drove in last year's Indy 500 too, but this is her first effort as a team owner at Indy. As such it's an important step forward for all businesswomen, and she becomes one of only six owner/drivers expected to compete at Indy this year.
Additional sponsorship is being sought for St. James' effort, but the car will be called the "Lifetime TV for Women Special No. 90," as the Lifetime cable television network will support St. James' effort for the third year. Indiana-based Biomet, the leading manufacturer of surgical implants and orthopedic supplies, will return for the fourth year.
The brand-new G-Force will sport Goodyear tires and it will be powered by the much-improved Nissan Infiniti Indy V8 powerplant.
The official entrant of the car is Lyn St. James Racing of Indianapolis. The announcement was made during a luncheon press conference at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort and Inn during the Indy Racing League's Media Tour.
"I've wanted to take this step for at several years," said St. James, who was Rookie of the Year in the 1992 Indianapolis 500.
She has assembled some very talented people to assist her efforts. Joining Lyn St. James Racing for engineering and technical support will be Kevin Doran Motorsports, which fielded the race-winning MOMO Ferrari in this year's Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and at the Exxon Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.
Walter Gerber, the crew chief for St. James' Indy 500 effort last year when her car was prepared by Hemelgarn Racing, will also return. He recently served in the same capacity for the factory Porsche GT-1 campaign at those same legendary endurance races. St. James herself competed in those races as a member of the TRV Motorsport team, finishing seventh and fourth in class, respectively, at Daytona and Sebring. Her teammates at Daytona were Jeret Schroeder, Tom Volk and Pete Halsmer, while she shared the driving duties with Schroeder and Volk at Sebring.
St. James was behind the wheel of the highest-running Infiniti-powered car in last year's Indianapolis 500 before she was forced to retire on lap 188 after hitting the wall off turn four trying to avoid Steve Kinser's crash. She ran as high as ninth in last year's race, and she was the fifth-fastest qualifier of the month, fastest of those in Infiniti-powered cars. As was the case last year, her motor will once again be prepared by hot rod legend Ed Pink of Van Nuys, Calif.
"My goal every year in returning to the Indy 500 is not only to make the field, but to steadily become more competitive," St. James told the crowd of approximately 175 at the press conference. "I always look forward to being here on Memorial Day weekend, but this year's package may just be one of the best I've ever had going into the race. We've been fortunate to assemble a wonderful group of talent, and the improvements Infiniti is beginning to demonstrate just make the whole effort that much more exciting.
"It's common knowledge that race drivers need to be optimistic just to survive in this business," St. James concluded, "but I really can't wait for May to get here."
Indianapolis Motor Speedway will open for practice on Sunday, May 10, with "Pole Day" on Saturday, May 16 and "Bump Day" on Sunday, May 17. The race itself begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 24.