Renault Formula 1 test driver Ho-Pin Tung looks set to become the first Chinese IndyCar racer next year, with the FAZZT team declaring that it wants to run a second car for Tung after he tested for the squad at Sebring last weekend.
Tung put in 211 laps at Sebring across last Friday and Saturday, setting a best time of 53.5sec on the track's 1.6-mile configuration. FAZZT would like to run Tung alongside lead driver Alex Tagliani in 2011, the team's general manager Rob Edwards confirmed.
"Our goal is to run a minimum of two cars for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar season and this test was a first step in that direction," said Edwards. "With the support of our primary sponsor Bowers & Wilkins, our team is actively seeking sponsorship for the second full-time entry for the 2011 season and beyond.
"Ho-Pin Tung's talent and presence in an IndyCar can reach a whole new nation of fans in China and presents significant opportunities for our sport and our partners."
FAZZT made a strong impression in its first season this year, with a front-row start for its maiden race in Sao Paulo and fourth place at Mid-Ohio – after leading much of the distance – the highlights for Tagliani and the team. Tung said the test had left him determined to complete a deal with FAZZT for next year.
"I am eager to get more now," said the 27-year-old. "This week has been terrific for getting to know the team and IndyCar. "I even got a ride around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and can only imagine how amazing it would be to run there, especially in this centennial year."
A former Formula BMW Asia and German Formula 3 champion, Tung's CV also includes stints in A1GP, Superleague Formula and GP2. He returned to the latter series with DAMS this year as part of his relationship with Renault and the Gravity management organization, but his season was disrupted by back injuries from a crash in Hungary.