Newman-Haas looks at power change

The Newman-Haas Champ Car team could change from long-time engine supplier Ford to Toyota for the 2001 season

Newman-Haas looks at power change

The Japanese marque has won four CART races so far this season - the same number as Ford - and is attempting to woo the Newman-Haas squad into its fold, as well as the Patrick Racing team.

"We have contracts with both teams," said a Ford spokesman, "but it looks like we'll be losing one of them."

Team bosses Paul Newman and Carl Haas will turn their backs on a 12-year relationship with the Blue Oval should they decide to opt for the newer Toyota power units.

The team also faces changes to its driver line-up, with Michael Andretti leaving to drive a third car for Team Green. Christiano da Matta is on the verge of signing up as Andretti's replacement as Haas has bought out da Matta's contract with the PPI Motorsports team.

"We have an agreement," said da Matta. "If we were in Brazil, we would have a handshake on an agreement, but here we have to wait for the contract for it to be official. I think it will be good. I'm really looking forward to it."

The Chip Ganassi Racing team is also looking for two new drivers for next year to fill the seats of Formula 1-bound Juan-Pablo Montoya and Jimmy Vasser, who will be released by the team at the end of the season. Various young drivers are in the frame to join Ganassi's team, including Indy Lights star Casey Mears and Formula 3000 aces Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian. Champcar's 2000 "Supersub" Memo Gidley is also in the frame,

The three new drivers will take part in a head-to-head shoot out at the Firebird road course later this week, along with Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice.

Gidley, as a current driver, can't take part in the test under CART rules as it would cost Newman-Haas a formal test day.

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