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Wirdheim close to drive

Bjorn Wirdheim, 2003 Formula 3000 champion and Jaguar's third driver last year, is close to signing a deal to race in the Champ car series in the United States.

The Swede has spent the off-season considering a number of options since his Jaguar deal closed with the team, and is believed to have been the main choice for the PKV Racing seat until former champion Cristiano da Matta came on the market.

"I am really close to a drive," he told Autosport-Atlas. "Unfortunately I'm not allowed to tell you about it at the moment, but I'm really excited about the drive and I'm looking forward to racing again."

There are few seats left in the Champ Car series, with seats at Conquest, Walker and Herdez the main vacancies. There are other teams which would be able to run a third car, but it is believed that the budget required to run these would be prohibitive.

With so few opportunities to drive the car ahead of the season, time in the car will be at a premium. Wirdheim hinted that he may be running at the next test before pointing to his record: "I tested pretty well at Fontana as a reward for winning Formula 3000 [Wirdheim broke the track record], and of course I was at Barber with PKV last year.

"To be honest I'm not too worried - the car is very similar to my old 3000 car except a bit heavier, and after a year driving for Jaguar I don't think it will be a problem. I have spent most of winter doing fitness training, so I'm really ready and looking forward to going to America.

"In fact, I can't wait!"

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