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JUNE 30, 2004

Taylor gets the bullet

F1 aspirant Mark Taylor has been dropped by the Panther Racing IRL team after just a handful of races. The 26-year-old from London went to the United States in 2003 after a successful British Formula 3 programme with Manor Motorsport and last year dominated the Infiniti Pro Series, becoming champion at his first attempt and being awarded the British Racing Drivers Club's Earl Howe Trophy as the most promising young British driver.

This year Taylor has struggled in the IRL with five crashes in six races

"Mark Taylor has done everything we have asked him to do over the past 18 months he has been part of the Panther Racing family," said team co-owner John Barnes. "However, due to the many pressures of professional auto racing, it is in everyone's best interest that we look in different directions."

Team co-owner Gary Pedigo backed up Barnes.

"The IndyCar Series has become one of the toughest championships a driver can contest, and the rules limiting team testing have made the learning curve very, very steep for a rookie in this series," he said. "Mark has done an outstanding job of getting the car up front in several races and has turned some very quick laps in a short amount of time. Mark is a very bright, personable and talented young driver and we wish him the best in his future endeavours."