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Champ Car/IRL

I know you reported it as dead RJ but the rumor of Champ Car an IRL merging is getting bigger over here today.

Sounds like Tony George is going to pay for the teams chassis that come over and also pay them $1.2 million. Also Long Beach, Edmonton, and Surfers Paradise would be added to the IRL calender.

Sounds good to me as the IRL is not just ovals now but logistically I don't think this should happen this season. Granted Champ Car season starts in April but this is going to piss off a lot of race promoters and fans if they do it like this. More notice like a year would be better in my opinion. Gonna piss me off if they cancel the Houston event since its right here in town.


  • I myself can't wait. The only downside I see, would be that they would dump the Panoz in favor of those ugly Dallaras.
  • Yes I agree Stan, unfortunately that is what it looked like they would be doing in the article on SpeedTv.com Shame too since they just started using the Panoz last season.

    Good job RJ on the statement from MinardiUSA, and the statement sounds like they are positive about the merger. If only we could get some news on drivers for the upcoming season.
  • The merger is a good thing, but is it the right thing to do now?! I forsee logistical problems, law suits, and chaos. Moreover, they'll probably use the ugliest car ever designed. I wonder what Laguna Seca will bring us... I hope the DP01 and the start of a final season of Champ Car World Series as we know it.

    [Edited on 11-2-2008 by Selespeed]
  • From what I understand everyone in Champ Car is still unsure what is going to happen...
    IRL, Champ Car merger talks stalled for 2008
    John Korobanik, Canwest News Service
    Published: Monday, February 18, 2008

    EDMONTON - With the opening event of the 2008 Champ Car World Series now just two months away, rumours powered by the ongoing merger possibility and the annual bankruptcy stories continue to swirl around the stability of the series.

    Champ Car and the Indy Racing League got within a step last week of completing the merger negotiations that have become almost an annual event. But IRL owner Tony George's inability to convince owners of the Motegi event in Japan to move its date to avoid conflict with Champ Car's season opener at Long Beach April 18-20 foiled attempts to get the two open-wheel racing series together for this year.

    Only a few of the team owners are willing to discuss the situation and Champ Car is being tight-lipped with the media, saying only that it is business as usual in preparing for the season.

    The one constant piece of good news is that drivers, team owners and officials on both series agree there has to be a merger of some kind to save open-wheel racing in North America.

    "It's sad to see that the two series have killed each other," A.J. Allmendinger, who finished third in last year's Champ Car series before switching to NASCAR, told autosport.com. "It's hard to say if it can ever get back to what it used to be because NASCAR has gown so much and that's where the TV coverage is and where the sponsors are.

    "But first things first - you've gotta have one series so you don't have to explain to the casual fan that, 'Hey, I race in this series, but it's not the same as the cars racing in the Indy 500.' That, to me, was always the most painful thing."

    A report out of Toronto last week quoted an unnamed source as saying the Edmonton Grand Prix had lost $7-million its first two years and would remain a financial disaster without provincial government assistance.

    Champ Car insiders say that's just sour grapes coming out of Toronto because their race was not included on any merger schedule. The Edmonton event would be the only one of three Canadian races to survive.

    "I don't know who their source was but I would say it's questionable," said Edmonton Grand Prix president Jim Haskins. "Toronto was left off the speculative merger list so I'm not sure they're not a little uneasy.

    "Every spring it seems someone floats the merger, the financial difficulty rumours out there and at the end of the day both series continue to do business. Our event is solid and we're very busy planning for '08."

    It's no secret, however, that the Edmonton event has not turned a profit in three years despite big crowds - 200,000 in 2005, 171,391 in 2006 and 167,152 in 2007.

    The proposed merger became almost a reality when George offered Champ teams free Dallara chassis and Honda engines that IRL runs, along with $1.2 million in incentives, to merge. That was vital because Champ Car owners had invested millions in the new Panoz DP-01 chassis with turbocharged Cosworth engines last year.

    "Last year's investment was approximately $1 million per driver," Team Australia owner Derrick Walker, who was rumoured ready to take his team to IRL if the merger failed, said in an e-mail. "If there is a merger these cars are obsolete and are available to you to purchase at a very reasonable price."

    Whatever is the best way forward, neither Champ Car nor IRL officials were talking merger late in the week, as their attention shifted to the early-season testing of teams getting ready for the season. Sources inside both series say it's probably too late for a merger to happen for 2008, but this spring's steps almost ensure there will be a merger for 2009.

    Edmonton Journal
  • Hmm. This is what I found yesterday.

    REPORT: Champ Car/IndyCar Deal Done

    by Robin Miller

    Homestead could be the start of a new era for IndyCar racing. (LAT photo)

    Most Champ Car teams were told to quit working on their Panoz chassis Monday and expect delivery of their new cars in a few days. Paul Tracy is coming to Indianapolis later this week for a seat fitting. And one of Champ Car's co-owners admitted to a fellow owner there would only be one series in 2008.

    After 12 years of warring that cost open-wheel racing much of its sponsorship, audience and momentum, common sense has finally prevailed.

    SPEEDtv.com has learned that the Indy Racing League and Champ Car have officially, and mercifully, agreed to become one entity. A press conference could come as early as Wednesday if Kevin Kalkhoven is back from England in time.

    Following nearly two weeks of negotiations between Tony George, Gerry Forsythe and Kalkhoven, an agreement is in place to bring several Champ Car teams and a handful of races into the IRL domain. It's believed attorneys from both sides worked all weekend to finalize some kind of arrangement for the two men who claimed CART's assets in bankruptcy court in 2004.

    George, who started the IRL in 1996 when CART was in its heyday, would not confirm any deal when contacted late Monday night. "While it is true that I continue to believe we at the threshold of something long-overdue, we have not yet stepped across it," he said.

    But all signs point to this tumultuous chapter of American motorsports finally being closed.

    "I'm supposed to fly in Indy later this week to get fitted for a seat and then we're going to have to thrash to make it to the first test in Homestead," said Tracy, the winningest active driver in Champ Car and its premier personality.

    "We don't have any experience with those Dallaras and we're going to need all the practice we can get but this is definitely the best thing that can happen for open-wheel racing."

    The IRL's first open test is on the oval at Homestead, Fla. on Feb. 27-28.

    Mike Lanigan, who co-owns a two-car CC effort with Paul Newman and Carl Haas in addition to promoting races at Houston and Cleveland, said he spoke with Forsythe on Sunday evening.

    "Gerry indicated we were likely looking at one series," said Lanigan, a Chicago native who started out sponsoring cars at the Indianapolis 500 in the early '90s.

    "I'm hoping to talk to Tony (George) about considering our two races, but having a unified series is certainly what everybody wants to see."

    Derrick Walker, a regular in Champ Car since 1991, said he expected "we should all hear something positive Tuesday or Wednesday" while Conquest Racing owner Eric Bachelart was asked whether he'd be in Champ Car, the IRL or one series this year.

    "I think I will be in a unified series," he replied.

    George's offer of free cars and engines, plus $1.2 million for any team able to compete the entire season, is expected to add a minimum of eight cars to the IRL grid in 2008.

    Newman/Haas/Lanigan (two), PKV (two), Forsythe (two), Walker (one) and Conquest (one) are definites, while Dale Coyne is likely to field at least one car in '08, although he couldn't be reached for comment on Monday. Minardi Team USA principal Paul Stoddart is a question mark, although partner Keith Wiggins may try to strike out on his own with one car. RocketSports is unknown while Pacific Coast Motorsports is believed to be headed to the ALMS.

    With the IRL car count at 16, this would give open-wheel its largest fields since earlier this decade.

    It also appears the Long Beach/Motegi conflict has been worked out. Earlier this month, George and Kalkhoven admitted there could not be unification unless Long Beach could be added to the IRL schedule and remain on its original date—April 20, the same weekend as Motegi. George and Honda's Robert Clarke flew to Japan to meet with Honda of Japan (Motegi's owners) and returned using "optimistic" quotes.

    The fast, challenging airport circuit at Edmonton, which drew a legitimate 175,000-200,000 people during its first three years, will likely find a place on the IRL schedule as well. And Surfer's Paradise, Australia was also being heavily considered.

    It would bring the combined schedule to 19 races for 2008 and George is likely to consider other Champ Car circuits like Toronto or Mexico City for 2009.
  • The merger has been finalized, news conference sometime next week.



    Just wish that the Houston race wasn't canceled as its right in my own backyard practically, and it probably means the ALMS race is no more in Houston also.

    RJ work up some magic and find out what Stoddart is going to do, the Robin Miller article just lists Minardi Team USA as a question mark.

    [Edited on 23-2-08 by Telstar]
  • What choice does he have? Anyway, he's unlikely to turn down a subsidy to run in IRL.
  • There is squad at Leafield for sale.... :cool:
  • This is part of an article from http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-former-champ-car-teams-paired-with-irl-squads/

    The pairings are as below – although Pacific Coast and Minardi have yet to officially announce their switches to the IRL:

    Andretti Green Racing - Dale Coyne Racing
    Target Chip Ganassi Racing - KV Racing
    Rahal Letterman Racing - Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
    Vision Racing - Conquest Racing
    A.J. Foyt Racing - Pacific Coast Motorsports
    Team Penske - Walker Racing
    Roth Racing - Team Minardi

    So Minardi USA hasn't confirmed entrance but will be paired with Roth Racing to give technical assistance so that the ex-Champ Car teams get up to speed quicker than on their own.
  • Rumors say that they will field just one car. So I guess no Doornbos this year?

    Great to see that they are pairing teams. This could be a great season of racing in the US. It's just those darn Dallaras that might stop me from enjoying it ;).
  • Doornbos was at the merger announcement with a bunch of the other drivers but no word on who he has a ride with. I have heard the one car for the team also.

    I agree Stan, the Dallara is ugly, hopefully they negotiate for a new chassis package for next season or at least 2010.
  • Its too bad Mont Tremblant was dropped. I doubt it IRL would ever come here. And I also doubt it that they would go to street or closed circuit tracks. Too bad!
  • I understand that the Surfers Paradise round will be going ahead this year and until 2013. Reps flew to Indy last week to sign a new contract. Apparantly the Canadian, Japanese and Aussie round will part of the "International Cup" series. Similar to CC "Canadian Cup". So I guess there will be road racing this year.

    [Edited on 12-3-08 by SuperRoo]
  • No Minardi USA anymore I guess:

    The outspoken Australian, who has been out of F1 since he sold Minardi to Red Bull in 2005, has no full time commitments any more after deciding not to move his team from Champ Car to the reunified IRL series this year.

    source: Autosport.com

    [Edited on 12-3-2008 by Rime]
  • That's a fast post Rime! The news just broke... Anyway, I'm doing Long Beach, Indy 500 and perhaps some Super League Formula (a strange concept, but the car looks ok!) this year.

    Everything ok with the 156?
  • That 156 is for sale :( We are expecting twins so I'm afraid my new car will be a Grand Espace...

    Good luck at Long Beach, enjoy it.

    Here is more:

    Stoddart rules out IRL campaign

    By Jonathan Noble & Steven English Wednesday, March 12th 2008, 08:47 GMT

    Robert Doornbos, Minardi Team USA, Champ Car Surfer's ParadisePaul Stoddart has decided not to enter his Minardi Team USA in the Indy Racing League this season.

    He doesn't think the team, who ran Robert Doornbos to third in the Champ Car standings last season, could be competitive in their first year of IRL with the merger coming together so close to the start of the season.

    When asked by autosport.com, he said: "I did enough tugging round at the back to know I don't want to do it again. I had a taste of victory last year and it was very nice, so I'll just take a sabbatical and see what happens.

    "I think realistically 2010 is the first opportunity for Champ Car teams to become competitive, when the new car comes."

    Stoddart believes the unification of open-wheel racing in North America was for the best, but doesn't think many Champ Car teams will make the switch for 2008.

    "What happened was good for North American motorsport, it had to happen. But it wasn't beneficial for any of the Champ Car teams. In anything like this there are winners and losers and all the Champ Car teams were the losers.

    "Newman/Haas will be there or thereabouts but I don't think we'll see many other teams go across there. Not because they don't want to, but with four weeks until the start of the season it's a pretty big ask to change your entire operating facility to a car you've never seem, on ovals you've never raced on, and to go out and be competitive."

    But Stoddart will field cars in the one-off Champ Car event at Long Beach next month.

    "We're going to have fun! I'm going to really enjoy that weekend and we're going all out to do the best job we can for the last ever Champ Car race.

    "More above anything else, Champ Car stood for entertainment and fun. I will be sad afterwards as it's the end of an era, but it's overwhelmingly right for North American motorsport to reunify."
    [Edited on 12-3-2008 by Rime]

    [Edited on 12-3-2008 by Rime]
  • thats a shame but he is right, 4 weeks is not enough time to be competitive, hopefully he can field a team in 2010.

    good luck to Doornbos to find a ride somewhere!
  • Originally posted by Rime
    That 156 is for sale :( We are expecting twins so I'm afraid my new car will be a Grand Espace...

    Good luck at Long Beach, enjoy it.

    thanx, I will. You might want to consider the Altea XL, a Walter d'Silva design...
  • Originally posted by SelespeedYou might want to consider the Altea XL, a Walter d'Silva design...
    I did and I like it but it's to small :(
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