For the 2012 IndyCar Series season, AJ Foyt Enterprises manager Larry Foyt has said his team would prefer to run one car full-time with stronger engineering than two with less focus and more distractions.
After taking over the day-to-day running of the operation from his legendary father AJ in 2007, Larry has been set on returning the outfit to its more competitive days.
In its heyday during the earlier days of the IRL, Foyt’s team was a regular frontrunner, winning the inaugural championship with Scott Sharp in 1996 along with a second title in 1998 with Kenny Brack, who also won the 1999 Indianapolis 500. The team never won a CART race during its participation from 1979-1995, although came heartbreakingly close at Nazareth in 1995, when Eddie Cheever ran out of fuel on the final lap, gifting victory to Emerson Fittipaldi and Team Penske.
Despite AJ stating several months ago the desire would be to expand back to a full-time two-car operation, the focus for 2012 will again be the No 14 car vacated recently by Vitor Meira. The search for Meira’s replacement is currently in progress, while Foyt is taking the opportunity of time prior to the delivery of the new DW12 car to work on the structure of the team itself which in turn will hopefully lead back to better and more consistent results on the track.
“Running two cars is a goal, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen for us in ’12,” Foyt said. “It doesn’t mean we won’t run a second car part-time. There’s a possibility of that, but full-time, it’s not a possibility”.
In 2011, Meira finished 16th in the overall series standings, with the team qualifying a second entry for the Indy 500 with Bruno Junqueira before negotiations with Andretti Autosport saw Ryan Hunter-Reay controversially take over the seat after failing to qualify his own car. The most recent podium finish for the team was the 2010 season opener in Brazil.
[Article by Matt Lennon; image via LAT]