Fernandez Racing Forms New Team
12/10/2002 9:17:56 PM
"We are very excited to team with the Super Aguri Company and Aguri Suzuki," said Tom Anderson, Co-Owner and Managing Director of Fernández Racing. "This is a great opportunity for both of our companies to grow and learn from each other. It is also a great opportunity to continue our relationship with Honda as they enter into the IRL."
Suzuki, one of Japan's most successful Grand Prix drivers, retired from racing in 1995. Since that time he has been helping to promote young Japanese drivers through the Autobacs Racing Team Aguri Project - ARTA - which has developed programs in series in Japan, Germany, France and in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship last season.
"Since the ARTA Project was launched five years ago with the goal to produce a toplevel Japanese driver, I have gained many precious insights," said Suzuki. "I have arrived at the conclusion that by having a team in a top category, the goal of young Japanese drivers may become clear. Our participation in the IRL is one of the steps to the goal, and is closely related to the objectives of the ARTA Project. We are pleased to join with Fernández Racing to challenge in the IRL as Super Aguri Fernández Racing."
The new team will operate out of the Fernández Racing headquarters in Indianapolis, and will be overseen by Anderson.
"Fernández Racing joins several teams that have or have had entries in both openwheel series," said Owner/Driver Adrián Fernández, who last month confirmed his participation in CART next season. "We look forward to our new association with Aguri Suzuki, and to mounting successful campaigns on both playing fields."
Yasukawa, 25, of Los Angeles, was the 1999 Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookie of the Year and finished fourth in the championship in 2001. He graduated to the Toyota Atlantic series this year netting three podiums, including a win in Milwaukee, and finishing 10th in the points in only a partial season of competition.
The team will take delivery of its first Dallara/Honda/Firestone later this month, and recently hired John Dick as race engineer for the new program. Dick has vast engineering experience in a variety of formulas and spent the 2002 season with Blair Racing, engineering Alex Barron to a fifth-place finish in the IRL championship.
"This coming season in the new formula will be extremely challenging and competitive," added Anderson. "Work has already started at our race shop in preparation for the delivery of our first Dallara chassis. We are excited to have Roger onboard and look forward to the beginning of our testing program in January."
The 16-race IRL season will open in Homestead, Fla., on March 2.