Photo courtesy of Grand-Am
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will expand to two cars for the penultimate round of the Grand-Am Rolex Series championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with the addition of its Target IndyCar drivers to a second Daytona Prototype entry.
Four-time IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti will share the Cessna-sponsored No. 02 Riley-BMW with teammate Scott Dixon, who adds two IndyCar championships of his own to the mix, as the team continues to expand its relationship with the airplane manufacturer.
The Monterey event will mark the first time Franchitti and Dixon have raced the No. 02 since January's Rolex 24 at Daytona where a crash and subsequent mechanical issues left the car in 37th place at the finish. The Target drivers, who will be coming off of two consecutive IndyCar weekends, will travel from Maryland to California and join Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the sister No. 01 Riley-BMW.
“It will be our first time in the car since Daytona, so we'll be coming right from the Baltimore event and going straight in,” Dixon told RACER. “I'm really looking forward to it. It will be my first time at Monterey since 2002 with Champ Car, so I can't wait to jump in and get after it.”
Franchitti claimed pole position for last weekend's IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway and finished third, while Dixon, who is second in the championship, looked like he was on course for the victory until he was assessed a controversial drive-through penalty that dropped the Kiwi to 15th at the finish.
With four races left in the IndyCar season and a 39-point deficit to bridge to Team Penske's Helio Castroneves, it might seem odd for Dixon to shift his focus away from open-wheel racing, but the 2006 Daytona 24 Hour winner says moonlighting with Grand-Am in Monterey won't be a distraction.
“We have more than a month between Baltimore and Houston, so it's really a case of having a lot of downtime to fill,” Dixon added. “I wanted to do the Brickyard Grand-Am race but had a wedding to go to, so I would have been in one of our DP cars sooner if the scheduling had worked out.
“Basically, I love racing and want to drive whenever I can. The DP cars are a lot of fun, and it's really cool that Cessna has come together with Chip and the team to do something for Monterey. Dario and I always have a good time, and we'll be going there to work with Scott and Memo to get the team a win.”
Pruett and Rojas raced at the Detroit round with the No. 01 carrying Cessna branding, and Franchitti's No. 10 Dallara DW12-Honda Indy car is also expected to wear Cessna's colors before the open-wheel season concludes at Fontana on Oct. 19.