ITALIAN ACES GIORGIO PANTANO AND AC MILAN AC TEAM UP TO COMPETE IN SUPERLEAGUE FORMULA 2009 22/06/2009 - Reigning GP2 Champion joins AC Milan for 2009 Superleague Formula Former Grand Prix driver and reigning GP2 Series champion Giorgio ...
ITALIAN ACES GIORGIO PANTANO AND AC MILAN AC TEAM UP TO COMPETE IN SUPERLEAGUE FORMULA 2009
22/06/2009 - Reigning GP2 Champion joins AC Milan for 2009 Superleague Formula
Former Grand Prix driver and reigning GP2 Series champion Giorgio Pantano is the latest star driver to join Superleague Formula. The 30-year-old Italian has signed to race for his favourite team AC Milan in this year's eagerly anticipated championship, which kicks off at Magny-Cours in France on 28 June.
AC Milan was one of the front-runners throughout the inaugural season when Dutchman Robert Doornbos (another man with F1 pedigree now racing in IndyCars) won three races and took the club to third place in the final standings - a result the highly respected and experienced Pantano is hoping to better in 2009.
"I'm not coming just to compete, I'm coming because I want to win races and hopefully the title - I've made that very clear to the team and they are determined to support me," said Pantano who is now eager to get behind the wheel of the V12 powered Superleague race car for the first time. "I'm very excited about this new challenge and the car is clearly very exciting with 750 horsepower - I'm really looking forward to racing it. I still need to meet the race team and those at the football club, but I've talked to them all on the 'phone and everyone is really up for this. I'm a passionate AC Milan fan, so this is very special for me."
Belgian-based Azerti Race Automotive will manage the AC Milan entry. Azerti is also managing the PSV Eindhoven entry - runner-up in the 2008 Superleague Formula championship.
"I congratulate those at Azerti who have been working very hard to bring Giorgio into Superleague Formula," said Robin Webb, Competitions Director at Superleague Formula. "Giorgio isn't the first Formula One driver to race in Superleague Formula but, as the reigning GP2 Series champion, he is probably the most significant addition to our grid to date. His presence further underlines Superleague Formula's escalating position within motor sport as well as its appeal to world class drivers who enjoy not only our unique fan-friendly race formats but also competing in a high-tech single-seater race car powered by a superb V12 engine developing more than 750bhp. Giorgio is a proven winner at the highest level and I'm sure he will do AC Milan proud on and off the track."
Name: Giorgio Pantano
Age: 30 (born 4 February 1979)
Home town: Padua, Italy
Lives: Padua, Italy
Interests: All motor sports, golf, football
Superleague Formula Club: AC Milan
Favourite Football moment: "Italy winning the World Cup and AC Milan beating Juventus to the Italian Championship. My worst moment was AC Milan losing to Liverpool in the Champions League final after being 3-0 ahead at half time. I must now get revenge over Liverpool on the track!"
Favourite All-Time Footballer: "At the moment it must be Lionel Messi though I liked Diego Maradona in the past."
Can You Play Football? "I play regularly in charity matches either as a striker or midfielder depending on the team."
* Giorgio Pantano is one of the world's most respected and successful drivers having raced in Grands Prix for Jordan in 2004 and in the GP2 series since its introduction in 2005. He holds the record for the most GP2 race victories and is the reigning champion having won the title in 2008.
* Before switching to single-seaters, Pantano had an amazing record in junior karting. In his first year in Cadet karting he won Italian and European titles. In 1994 he won the world crown in Junior karting. The following year he lifted the Formula A European title at his first attempt
* In 1999, Pantano graduated to single-seaters by moving straight into the German Formula 3 Championship. He caused a sensation by winning his first race and went onto to take the title.
* His first taste of F1 came in 2000 with a test for the Benetton team. Tests with McLaren, Williams and Minardi followed along with notable race wins in the Formula 3000 championship.