Panther Racing Signs Dillon Battistini to Indy Pro Series Team 2007 Asian Formula 3 Champion to Drive the Team's No. 15 Pro Series Entry INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 25, 2008) -- Panther Racing announced today it has signed British driver Dillon ...
Panther Racing Signs Dillon Battistini to Indy Pro Series Team
2007 Asian Formula 3 Champion to Drive the Team's No. 15 Pro Series Entry
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 25, 2008) -- Panther Racing announced today it has signed British driver Dillon Battistini to pilot a second entry for the team's Indy Pro Series program. Battistini, the defending Asian Formula 3 champion, will join current Panther IPS driver Brent Sherman to solidify the team's 2008 lineup.
"I've really liked Dillon from the first time I met him, and he possesses a lot of qualities you look for in a good driver," Panther team owner John Barnes said. "Obviously, he's fast and knows how to get around a racetrack, but he's also a humble guy, very well-spoken and respectful. We feel like he's going to fit right in with Panther's Indy Pro Series program and with his teammate Brent Sherman. We had plenty of options with drivers that could have run a second car for us, but I didn't want to do it unless we found the right guy, and Dillon is the perfect fit for Panther Racing."
Battistini recently passed his Indy Pro Series rookie test with Panther during a one-day test at Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5-mile oval, sight of this weekend's season opener. Prior to meeting Panther officials, Dillon tested with Champ Car's Minardi Team USA. He will drive Panther's No. 15 Indy Pro Series entry.
"I'm extremely happy to join Panther, the guys here have treated me like family and I feel like I'm at home already," Battistini said. "Right now I'm at the start of a big learning curve because I've joined the team so late and there is a lot to catch up on, but there couldn't be a better team to work with right now."
Financial support for Battistini's effort is coming from a number of personal backers, including AlexP, a high-quality automotive photographic and image management company with a client list that includes many major manufacturers.
This is the first time Panther has run multiple IPS entries entering a season, and Dillon's performance during his recent oval test has left expectations of team officials extremely high.
"On the track, it was fun driving an oval for the first time and the speeds are higher than anything I've ever driven before," Dillon admitted. "The car felt a bit strange at first because of the camber setup, but after just a few laps everything came to me really quickly and I was comfortable in the car. I'm excited to get back to Homestead this week and prepare for my first race with the team."
Panther won the 2003 Indy Pro Series championship with British race driver Mark Taylor and followed a three-year hiatus from the developmental series with a runner-up result in the championship last season with Hideki Mutoh. The team has won a total of nine races in two years of competition, and has finished with 15 podium and 20 Top Five finishes in its 27 starts.
Henri Durand, Panther's Technical Director and a veteran of 20-plus years in Formula One, has been impressed by how quickly Battistini has adjusted to his Indy Pro Series car.
"Dillon is acclimating himself very quickly to the nature of oval racing and the particulars of the Indy Pro Series car," Durand said. "He has shown us, early on, that he has the consistency and the ability to judge and analyze every situation and transmit the right message to engineers to make sure he maximizes his performance. It's early, but it's safe to say we are extremely encouraged by his start."