Briscoe in for da Matta in final races
||Tuesday, October 10th 2006, 07:51 GMT
The RuSPORT team have announced Ryan Briscoe will replace Cristiano da Matta in the final races of this year's Champ Car season.
The Australian driver will have his debut in the series in his home country at Surfer's Paradise on 22 October, and will also race at Mexico City on 12 November.
Brazilian da Matta is now recovering at home following life-threatening head injuries suffered in a testing accident at Road America over two months ago. His team have since run the following three races with only one car.
"I'm very excited about joining RuSPORT and competing in Champ Car," said Briscoe. "Because my official start will be in Surfer's Paradise, it will be a very special race for me. It's been my goal since the beginning of the year to race in Champ Car, and I'm with a top team, so it's a really exciting opportunity for me.
"I'm hoping we can get off to a quick start and get some good results right away," he added.
"Since Cristiano's accident in August, we have spent a considerable amount of time and effort on finding the right driver for the No. 10 car," said RuSPORT president Jeremy Dale. "Although we interviewed and tested several talented and capable drivers, we believe Ryan is the ideal type of driver for RuSPORT.
"The experience he has gained in his relatively young racing career has enabled him to become a competitive driver with a solid base of technical knowledge that we look for. RuSPORT is a team made up of very competitive people, and racing without the No. 10 car at the past three Champ Car events has been challenging for everyone here.
"However, the entire team is very excited to have the No. 10 car back on track in Australia and Mexico City, particularly with a driver of Ryan's calibre."
Briscoe previously tested for Toyota in Formula One, took part in the Indy Racing League with Chip Ganassi Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, raced twice in the 24 Hours of Daytona, competed in A1GP with Team Australia, and participated in last weekend's Bathurst race in the V8 Supercar series.
Having lost his Ganassi IRL drive at the end of 2005, the Australian tried to break into Champ Car for this season, but potential opportunities with Team Australia and PKV Racing both fell through despite impressive testing performances.
RuSPORT had initially attempted to recruit Dario Franchitti as da Matta's substitute. When agreement could not be reached, they invited Briscoe, GP2 driver Adam Carroll and Ronnie Bremer to audition for the drive in a testing 'shoot-out'.