Two single-car teams have made their strategic alliance official, as Panther Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced Monday they'll work in conjunction with each other for the balance of the 2012 season.
The two long-time IZOD IndyCar Series teams shared a technical partnership at the end of the 2011 season and, effective immediately, will expand that effort under the same roof at Panther's headquarters in Indianapolis. Oriol Servia's No. 22 DRR entry will now have Chevrolet engines, after running with Lotus powerplants for the first four races of 2012.
“We've wanted to operate as a two-car team for some time now, but the right opportunity had never arisen to allow us to accomplish that,” said Panther Managing Partner and CEO John Barnes. “But as soon as we had the opportunity to work with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Oriol Servia – a guy I consider one of the best all-around drivers in IndyCar – this was a no-brainer for us.
"Dennis (Reinbold) and I have been friends for a long time, and they've got a great group of guys on their team that we're very excited to be working with. I know we're all looking forward to working under the same roof and expanding upon what we've both built all these years in the IndyCar Series.”
“The timing of aligning with Panther and putting this deal together is exceptional, especially knowing Panther's history at the Indianapolis 500,” added DRR co-owner Dennis Reinbold. “We're really looking forward to working together and taking advantage of the expertise that both teams share as we bring all our efforts together and move forward as a two-car team.”
Both teams expanded their Indianapolis efforts a year ago, Panther running a second car for Buddy Rice alongside then-rookie JR Hildebrand, while DRR fielded a four-car effort comprised of regulars Justin Wilson and Ana Beatriz, and extra cars for Davey Hamilton and Paul Tracy.
Hildebrand made his IndyCar debut with Dreyer & Reinbold for two races (Mid-Ohio and Infineon) in 2010 before signing a multiyear contract with Panther starting in 2011.