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AUGUST 20, 2002

Former Ford F1 boss announces IRL chassis

Michael Kranefuss, who was in charge of all Ford's Formula 1 activities from 1983 to 1993 has just launched a new business called Falcon Cars. The firm will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is building chassis for the Indy Racing League. The cars have been designed by former Ligier chief designer Ken Anderson, who went on to design the G Force IRL car.

The pair say Falcon will be the "premier race car engineering facility" in the United States. In modern times almost all of the CART and Indy Racing League chassis have been built in Europe, either in Britain (home of March, Lola, Reynard, Penske and G-Force) or Italy (where the Dallara chassis are manufactured), so the establishment of Falcon Cars in the US is a significant happening.

Kranefuss (64) is a German by birth but built his name in Detroit after successes for Ford in Germany and then in Europe. Under his guidance Ford began to be a force in NASCAR, Bill Elliott winning the Winston Cup in 1988 and Alan Kulwicki in 1992. Kranefuss left Ford in 1993 to set up a CART team of his own but eventually went into partnership with Carl Haas in NASCAR although Haas was later bought out by Roger Penske. Penske-Kranefuss Racing enjoyed considerable success with driver Jeremy Mayfield in the late 1990s.