The Chip Ganassi Racing team has made two major announcements over the course of this weekend’s Grand Prix of Houston, with the championship-winning outfit confirming it will switch to Chevrolet power next season, as well as return to a four-car operation with the addition of Tony Kanaan to its driver roster.
The series veteran, who won the 2004 championship crown, will leave the KV Racing squad at the end of the current season, joining Chip Ganassi on a multi-year deal with financial backing from global IT services provider NTT DATA.
Partnered alongside four-time series champion Dario Franchitti, two-time title-winner Scott Dixon and first-time race winner Charlie Kimball, Kanaan will strengthen what is already a formidable line-up when the 2014 season gets underway.
Kanaan – who broke through to win the Indianapolis 500 for the first time this year – is the series’ most experienced driver. The Brazilian made his debut in 2001, clocking up 273 race starts to-date, which feature sixteen race wins and fifteen pole positions.
“I couldn’t be happier to join this organisation,” Kanaan beamed in today’s press conference confirming the news.
“They are the gold standard that all IndyCar teams measure themselves against. Chip [Ganassi, team owner] has created a fantastic organisation that judges success by just one thing – winning, both races and championships. I can’t wait for next year to get here. This is a very big day for me.”
“It is not all the time that you can find yourself as an owner with drivers that represent seven championships, five Indianapolis 500 victories and over 75 wins,” Ganassi added.
“That feels pretty good. I think TK will add a lot to this organisation, not only from his talent behind the wheel but also from his leadership skills off the track. I am very exciting to add TK to an already talented group of drivers.”
Ganassi also confirmed that his team will end its partnership with long-time engine partner, Honda, at the end of the season and move to Chevrolet, which has proven to be the more successful engine under the series’ current regulations.
“This decision makes a lot of sense for us for a number of reasons,” Ganassi added.
“We feel Chevrolet has done a great job in their return to the IndyCar Series and because of our existing relationship with them in NASCAR. There are a lot of synergies that we will be able to realize in working with the same manufacturer across the two series. We are thrilled.”