Ganassi Tabs Manning
November 5, 2003 | 4:28 P.M. EST
"Team Target has proven that they are one of the premier organizations in all of motorsports," Manning said. "Their legacy of winning championships is amazing, and it's an honor to drive for them. What they did this year proves, even more, that they are the team to beat and I'm truly excited to be a part of their team.
"I've fared pretty well on ovals so far in my career," Manning continued. "I'm confident that I'll be successful next year in the IRL IndyCar Series."
Manning, a native of North Yorkshire, England, began his racing career in karts at age 10 before moving into open-wheel formula cars in England. He recorded numerous victories in Formula Vauxhall and F3, and won the 1999 All Japan F3 Championship on the strength of six victories. Manning served as a test driver for the BAR Honda Formula 1 team from 2000 through 2002 and made his CART Champ Car debut driving for Team St. George at Rockingham Motor Speedway in 2002, leading 18 laps and finishing ninth.
"Darren has shown over the years that he is an extremely talented driver," said Chip Ganassi, owner of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. "We're excited to have him on board with us for the 2004 season. He's a guy that really fits into this organization. I have no doubt that he'll adapt quickly to these cars and compete for the championship."
This past season, Manning, 28, drove for Walker Racing and earned 14 top-10 and three top-five finishes, including a season-best second-place effort in the season finale at Surfers Paradise, Australia.
Manning joins teammate Scott Dixon at Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Dixon, the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series champion, led the series in laps led (748), races led (14), poles (5) and wins (3).