Season Preview: Panther Racing
March 5, 2008 | 1:39 P.M. EST
The team returns with veteran driver Vitor Meira behind the wheel of its Dallara and with Delphi as co-primary sponsor.
The invigoration comes from the addition of the National Guard as co-primary sponsor and the addition of technical director Henri Durand.
"As a team, Panther has done everything we can this off-season to contend for our third championship," said John Barnes, co-owner of the team that has 15 race victories in IndyCar Series competition. "We've spent multiple hours working on our research and development initiatives, and our new Technical Director (Henri Durand) has overhauled our entire technical operation and made some major improvements. He's quickly proven himself as a key addition to our team. We feel like this is going to be a special year for our team, sponsors and fans."
Durand is entering his first year with Panther after spending 20 years in Formula One, including 11 years at McLaren F-1, where he was Chief Engineer of Aerodynamics. During his tenure there, McLaren won four F1 World Championships with driver Ayrton Senna (1990-91) and Mika Hakkinen (1998-99).
The changes are exciting to Meira, who enters his seventh season of IndyCar Series competition with 25 top-five finishes in 76 starts.
"I'm really excited," said Meira. "We've been working so hard the whole offseason. It's really good to have Delphi and the National Guard on board. That kind of support will help take me to Victory Lane."
Panther Racing Capsule
Car Number: 4
Driver: Vitor Meira, 30, Brasilia, Brazil
Team Manager: Ron Catt
Technical Director: Henri Durand
Race Engineer: Brent Harvey
Chief Mechanic: Dan Miller
Top 5: 5
Top 10: 15
Laps Led: 88
Best Start: 6th (Milwaukee)
Best Finish: 4th (Homestead-Miami, Michigan)
Running at Finish: 22
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