Silly season heats up

With just over two months to go before the start of the new Champ Car season (April 10, Long Beach) a number of highly experienced drivers are looking to land a seat in the American series, which had struggled in recent years to attract a competitive grid.

Silly season heats up

At least four seats remain unfilled, one each at Forsythe, Conquest, HVM (formerly Herdez) and Rocketsports. Dale Coyne Racing and Walker Racing have not yet confirmed their drivers, although they are expected to retain Oriol Servia and Mario Haberfield respectively. Both teams are looking at running a second car, while Newman Haas and Forsythe have not ruled out running a third car.

Williams test driver Antonio Pizzonia has made contact with a number of teams and has made no secret of his desire to race rather than spend another year testing. 2003 Formula 3000 champion and former Jaguar tester Bjorn Wirdheim, who was strongly tipped to take the PKV Racing drive before Toyota Formula 1 refugee Cristiano da Matta returned to Champ Cars, is also looking to race in the series.

"We are talking to a few teams at the moment," Wirdheim confirmed to autosport.com. "We've still got time, and hopefully we can put something together."

Former Herdez racer Ryan Hunter-Reay has been sharing testing duties for Rocketsports in Sebring with ex-Jordan F1 driver Timo Glock. Hunter-Reay is believed to have been promised he will have a drive somewhere in the series, although he does not currently have a contract anywhere, and Glock has an attractive budget behind him.

Conquest has been casting a wide net, testing Toyota Atlantic driver Alex Figge, sometime Formula Renault V6 and Indy Lights racer Matt Halliday and Dallara-Nissan World Series graduate Bruce Jouanny. F1 veteran Jos Verstappen is believed to still talking to a number of teams.

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