Erbacher exits USA with plenty of knowledge for Euro title defense LAS VEGAS (April 13) -- Reigning European Top Fuel champion Urs Erbacher of Switzerland completed his early season tour of the United States with a computer full of data that the...
Erbacher exits USA with plenty of knowledge for Euro title defense
LAS VEGAS (April 13) -- Reigning European Top Fuel champion Urs Erbacher of Switzerland completed his early season tour of the United States with a computer full of data that the FIA titleholder is convinced will help him defend his crown this summer.
Racing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, Erbacher successfully qualified for his fourth event in as many tries on this year's POWERade Drag Racing Series. The four-time European champion has proven he can run well at the sport's elite level and should now be an even bigger force on the 2008 FIA tour.
"The experience we gained here this spring has made us stronger," Erbacher said. "It was an expensive expedition, especially without the primary sponsorship we continue to need, but the dividends it will pay should make it all worthwhile. I'm not sure if our European counterparts have found time to test for the upcoming season but even if they have, it would be hard to compare with the experience of racing NHRA.
"We have three goals for the year. First, we want to reset our European records of 4.747 seconds and 318.55 mph. I think this will be attainable as soon as the weather conditions are favorable. Next, we want to win another Top Fuel title. This will be very tough as the top teams were very close last year and should be once again in '08. Finally, we need a sponsor in both Europe and the United States."
Erbacher is certainly gaining a large fan base on American soil. His team's openness and multicultural background has appealed to many longtime NHRA fans and the media has made the entire Fat Attack race team the subject of numerous feature stories.
On the track, Erbacher made a little history when he became the first European racer in three decades to record an elimination round win, which he accomplished two weeks ago in Houston.
"To come here and step up to such an intense level of competition is very hard," Erbacher said. "The fact we were able to qualify for all four races makes me very proud. Winning a round in Houston was a great reward for us. Next we must find a way to win a race and become the first European team to do that in NHRA Top Fuel.
"As for the fans, they were very hospitable to us everywhere we went. I think they see a group that loves to race and is willing to travel thousands of miles to race with NHRA -- the best of the best. We make very many friends and we are sad to leave for the summer, but we will be back in the fall for more.
"It is our hope that the uniqueness of this team and the fact we race in Europe and the U.S. will appeal to many companies. We can offer exposure that no one else is capable of providing at the moment. Hopefully, we will soon have the backing we need to make the final move to the top of U.S. racing."
The FIA season begins May 23-26 at Santa Pod Raceway in England.