Taylor clinches Panther seat

As exclusively revealed in this week's AUTOSPORT magazine, Britain's Mark Taylor will graduate to the IRL IndyCar Series next year with Panther Racing

Taylor clinches Panther seat

Taylor, this year's IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion, will drive a Menards/Johns Manville-backed Dallara-Chevrolet in the IRL's top flight. He will partner Tomas Scheckter in the Panther team, which will run two cars for the first time next year.

"I am delighted to have been selected to driver for Panther Racing," said Taylor. "This is a great opportunity for me and I would like to thank John Menard and everyone at Panther Racing for making this possible. When the 2003 season started, I wasn't sure what to expect in oval racing. As it turns out, it is fantastic racing, a great product for the fans, and I knew quickly that I wanted my career to lead to the IndyCar Series.

Taylor's 2003 championship effort included a record seven Infiniti Pro Series wins and nine top-five finishes over the 12 races on the schedule.

"The Menards Infiniti Pro Series is designed to be the stepping stone series in the IRL," said John Menard, co-owner of Panther Racing. "As the 2003 series champion, it is a natural that Mark progress into the IndyCar Series. It is even more fitting that Mark competes in 2004 with Menards and Johns Manville colors."

Taylor had his first IRL test with Panther in its No. 4 Pennzoil car at Texas Motor Speedway in early October.

"Mark ran a full day of testing for us at Texas Motor Speedway and was turning very competitive laps almost immediately," John Barnes, co-owner of Panther Racing said. "He has proven throughout his career that he knows how to find victory lane, and we are looking forward to watching him grow into a solid IndyCar Series competitor."

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