Panther to Chevy in 2012
October 8, 2011 | 1:51 P.M. EST
"Chevrolet and Panther Racing enjoyed tremendous success together in the past, winning races and winning championships." (Photo: Getty Images(
Two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Panther Racing announced tat it will reunite with Chevrolet to run the new Chevy IndyCar V-6 racing engine beginning next season.
All of Panther's 15 IndyCar Series victories and both of its IZOD IndyCar Series championships were captured with GM engines.
"I just couldn't be more excited that Chevrolet has decided to return to IndyCar racing and obviously it's a natural fit for Panther to have Chevrolet powering our cars once again," Panther Racing Managing Partner and CEO John Barnes said. "We've got a long list of race wins and championships together and we're looking forward to continuing our successful partnership starting in 2012. Chevy races to win, and so do we, so we're ready to get to work and pick up right where we left off."
Panther won its first race in 1999 with Scott Goodyear in the team's GM-powered No. 4 entry, and later captured the 2001 and 2002 IZOD IndyCar Series championships with Sam Hornish Jr. Panther was the lone team to remain with Chevrolet entering the 2005 season, a year in which they captured a team-record three pole positions (Homestead, Nashville and Texas) and a victory at Texas Motor Speedway with Tomas Scheckter.
"Chevrolet and Panther Racing enjoyed tremendous success together in the past, winning races and winning championships, and we look forward to more success in the future," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President for Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. "As Chevrolet returns to IndyCar competition in 2012 with an all-new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 engine, we're pleased to renew our longstanding relationship with Panther Racing. Both organizations share the same commitment, focus, and dedication to winning."
Chevrolet's roots in Indy car racing reach back to company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, who drove, designed and built cars in the early days of open-wheel racing. Chevrolet stock-block V-8 and V-6 engines powered independent racers for decades, and Chevrolet has won championships in Indy car racing as an engine manufacturer with turbocharged and naturally aspirated engines.
Panther driver JR Hildebrand, 23, from Sausalito, Calif., has collected two top-five and five top-10 finishes in the No. 4 National Guard entry. He'll attempt to wrap up the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"I definitely grew up in a Chevy family," Hildebrand said. "My first real introduction to racing was my dad racing a 1968 Camaro out on the West Coast, so that was always part of my upbringing and it's going to be cool to be part of that Chevrolet family myself now. The new engine manufacturers coming into the IndyCar Series add a whole new dimension to the racing and the preparation that goes into it, and I know the history and commitment that Chevy has to winning races. I'm excited to be a part of it."