NOVEMBER 29, 2006

Dan Pettit buys Rusport

Dan Pettit, a wealthy venture capitalist in the telecommunications business, has bought the Rusport Champ Car team. Pettit was previously a partner in Kevin Kalkhoven's PKV Racing but has now decided to move on to have his own team. Pettit is close to the Gulfstream executive jet company and it is thought likely that Rusport - or whatever it is called in the future - will probably add Gulfstream sponsorship to its backing from CDW, an Illinois-based computer retailer. The team will remain based at its current headquarters in Loveland, Colorado, and will be run for Pettit by current president Jeremy Dale. It remains to be seen what will happen beyond that but it is expected that former F1 engineer David Brown will stay on as technical director. Brown was a celebrated engineer in Grand Prix racing, winning World Championships with Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost. He was then Ayrton Senna's race engineer in the fateful 1994 season. He eventually moved to McLaren and ultimately ran the team that won Nick Heidfeld the Formula 3000 title in 1999. Brown left F1 in 2002 and has been in America ever since.

It remains to be seen who will drive for the team as there have been rumours that Justin Wilson is on the shopping list of other more successful teams.

PKV partners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser seem to be happy to shoulder the burden of their team and switching Pettit to Rusport guarantees the future of one of the bigger Champ Car operations.