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Franchitti to test for Jaguar Racing

CART racer Dario Franchitti is to test for Jaguar Racing later this year with the intention of getting a drive in Formula 1 in 2001. The Edinburgh driver has been racing in America since he left Europe in 1997 and was runner-up in the CART series last year to Juan-Pablo Montoya. During the winter Franchitti broke his hip in a testing crash and in the early races this year he was not competitive but more recently he has been on the pace again and looking for victories in his Team Kool Green Reynard-Honda. His three-year contract runs out at the end of the year and Franchitti has never made any secret of the fact that he wants to return to European racing.

He was very successful with Paul Stewart Racing in the junior formulae and went on to race for Mercedes-Benz in the International Touring Car Championship in 1995 and 1996 before going to America as a Mercedes-Benz driver. At the end of 1997 he made the controversial decision to join Team Green on a three-year contract, using Honda engines.

Although Jackie Stewart is less involved than previously in Jaguar Racing, the team director Andy Miller knows Franchitti well and rates him highly, having run the Scot in Formula 3 in 1994 when Dario was one of Stewart's drivers in the "Staircase of Talent" scheme.

Franchitti is also managed by the well-connected F1 manager and marketing specialist Julian Jakobi.

Jaguar Racing is a logical destination for Franchitti. He is well-known to Ford Motor Company executives in the United States. He is very much in the image of Jaguar drivers and has the added bonus of being the fiance of Hollywood film star Ashley Judd.

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