Herbert Joining IRNLS At Texas
September 5, 2001 | 12:09 P.M. EST
Herbert, a three time winner in F-1, will drive the No. 36 G Force-Infiniti as a teammate to Jeff Ward in the Chevy 500. The race will be Herbert’s first on an oval.
Heritage Motorsports will utilize an Infiniti for the first time under race conditions at the high-banked, high-speed 1.5-mile oval, but Herbert tested with the team at Kentucky Speedway in August with the Nissan-built engine.
"This is a very drivable engine," said Herbert, a 37-year-old native of Brentwood, England, who has made no secret about his desire to compete in the Indianapolis 500. "It’s very powerful in the right places on the track. It provides a very interesting drive, which I enjoyed."
Herbert was impressive in his test at Kentucky, turning laps in the 214 mph range that would have put him on the front row for the race. The three-hour test came a week after Herbert tested a Dale Coyne-owned Champ car on the brand-new oval in Rockingham, England.
"I’m glad I’ve been able to see both leagues," Herbert said. "My goal is to get as much experience with a team before going to the Indy 500. Right now, I’m trying to figure out all the possibilities and looking at the strongest packages. I’m looking for the best opportunity to win the Indianapolis 500."
In addition to his F-1 wins, Herbert has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. He thinks an Indy win would be the perfect way to round out his career.
"Winning the Indy 500 is my last major challenge, and I’m doing all I can to get there," he said. "This was a great package to run with, and I really hope I’m competing here next year."
Coyne’s CART FedEx Championship Series team and Sigma Autosports had both shown interest in the former F-1 driver for CART’s first two oval races in Europe in hopes of attracting more interest in the races that are scheduled for Sept. 15 and Sept. 22
Herbert will get his first chance to show off the skills everyone has been fawning over on Sept. 14 in qualifying for the Chevy 500. The race is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (ET) Sept. 16.