FEBRUARY 8, 2008

Movement in the United States

It is being reported in the United States of America that Champ Car owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe have reached an agreement with Tony George of the Indy Racing League to merge the two championships, bringing to an end the self-destructure schism that has torn open-wheeler racing in the United States apart in the course of the last 13 years. George is believed to have agreed to pay not only for new chassis and engines for the Champ Car teams but also to offer them cash to race. If all goes to plan some of the most popular Champ Car events would be merged into the IRL, notably Long Beach Grand Prix and the races at Surfers Paradise and Edmonton. There are still details that are being sorted out. There will need to be different configurations of car: one for the ovals and another for the road courses, but it would at least bring everyone together again and open the way for progress to be made. There is no doubt that given the late nature of the deal, the Champ Car teams would be at a disadvantage compared to the IRL operations but as both series are now very weak this is probably a necessary evil. It will take time to rebuild interest in open-wheeler racing in the United States, particularly as some of the star names of the sport have moved to the rival NASCAR is recent times.

More news is expected shortly.