Panoz Deal Won't Affect IRL

Panoz's contract to be the sole Champ Car chassis supplier will have no affect on their IRL programme, according to the companies' leading executives

Panoz Deal Won't Affect IRL

Panoz, who won the IRL championship in 2003 as G-Force, won the right to be the only manufacturer of Champ Cars for a minimum of three years from 2007 after beating current majority supplier Lola to the deal.

IRL announced earlier this week that they had contracted Panoz to be one of their suppliers until the end of 2006, but the mostly-oval series currently has no confirmed chassis or engine contracts for 2007.

The announcement has led to speculation that both series could start to realign in the future by adopting similar technical regulations.

However, the Champ Car and IRL programmes are separate according to David Bowes, the CEO of Elan Motorsports Technologies, Panoz's motorsport engineering arm.

Bowes said: "We have a number of different contracts existing in a number of different series. We'll be honouring all of those contracts.

"There's no comparison between IRL and Champ Car. They're two entirely different cars. Our current IRL car was designed and built several years ago to a different level of requirements with a different level of technology available.

"The Champ Car has five years of technology now we can add into it. We have a different look and feel to Champ Car racing and a different set of requirements from them to build this car to.

"To be honest, the only way we can achieve what we've been asked to achieve is to literally start with a clean sheet of paper."

Newly installed Champ Car president Steve Johnson echoed those sentiments, saying that the new car would not make it any easier to enter the Indy 500, IRL's showpiece event.

"The IRL car is totally different car from that would be running in the Indy 500," Johnson said. "Unless the rules would change for the Indy 500, this is not the chassis for the Indy 500.

"The Champ Car World Series is focused on our business model and Champ Car. We're continuing to move forward with that. Again, we're not focused on anybody else out there, other than what we're doing. We're going to provide the best entertainment value in motorsports."

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Author Tim Redmayne
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