2001 line-up falling into place

The 2001 CART line-up is falling into place after a series of team announcements at Fontana this weekend, but the future looks bleak for two respected outfits

2001 line-up falling into place

Both Della Penna Motorsports and PPI Motorsports are likely to close down after the season finale after Toyota announced that it will not be supplying either team with engines in 2001. Neither of the other two CART engine suppliers, Honda and Ford, is thought to be willing to offer the teams a lifeline.

While Della Penna's future has often been left shaky by financial difficulties, PPI's situation is more of a surprise. The team won in Chicago with Cristiano da Matta this season and had become regular frontrunners. However, da Matta has agreed to move to Newman-Haas in place of Michael Andretti, while his team-mate Oriol Servia is expected to replace Adrian Fernandez at Patrick Racing. Crucially, the Spaniard would take his lucrative Telefonica backing with him.

Although paddock rumours continue to suggest that some form of rescue package could be in place for the PPI CART programme, Cal Wells' team is instead expected to focus on its' NASCAR arm, having run a one car team for Scott Pruett this season.

PPI's other main sponsor Pioneer is now likely to switch to Walker Racing. Derrick Walker's team is thought to be on the brink of announcing a deal to run reigning Formula Nippon champion Tora Takagi in a Pioneer-backed Reynard-Toyota next season. Takagi had two disappointing Formula One seasons with Tyrrell and Arrows in 1998-9 and returned to Japan's premier domestic series this year.

Another major announcement expected soon is the future of former 'works' Mercedes team Mo Nunn Racing. The team will definitely continue in CART, running at least one Reynard, probably with Honda power, for current driver Tony Kanaan. However, it is highly likely that the team will also enter a second car, with Ganassi refugee Jimmy Vasser a potential driver if he chooses not to switch to NASCAR.

Also at Fontana looking for a CART drive is double champion and ex-F1 driver Alex Zanardi. He is another potential candidate for Nunn seat but has been quoted as saying that he feels he has left it too late to secure a top deal for 2001.



Penske- Gil de Ferran, Helio Castroneves
Newman-Haas- Cristiano da Matta, Christian Fittipaldi
Ganassi- Bruno Junqueira, Nicolas Minassian
Team Green- Paul Tracy, Dario Franchitti, Michael Andretti
Rahal- Kenny Brack, Max Papis
Zakspeed Forsythe- Bryan Herta, tba German driver
Fernandez Racing- Adrian Fernandez, Shinji Nakano
Symga- Max Wilson
Player's Forsythe- Alex Tagliani, Patrick Carpentier??
Mo Nunn Racing- Tony Kanaan, tba??
Patrick Racing- Roberto Moreno, Oriol Servia??
Dale Coyne Racing- tba
PacWest- Mauricio Gugelmin, Scott Dixon??
Bettenhausen- Michel Jourdain Jr, tba
Walker Racing- Tora Takagi??
Arciero PRG- tba??

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