• Feb 19, 2008
While it has yet to be confirmed, emerging reports indicate that the decade-long split in American open-wheel racing could be drawing to a close after Champ Car and IRL organizers reportedly came to a deal Monday night. The deal would involve most of the big teams from the Champ Car World Series moving over to the Indy Racing League, with the latter adopting a number of Champ Car races into its calendar. Paul Tracy – who became the winningest driver in Champ Car with Sebastien Bourdais' departure for F1 – is set to take part in the IRL's first test session of the season at Homestead, Florida eight days from now, while Champ Car teams were advised to cease development on their Panoz chassis in anticipation of delivery of their new IRL cars.

Newman/Haas/Lanigan, PKV, Forsythe, Walker and Conquest are all expected to take advantage of Indy chief Tony George's offer for free cars and a $1.2m stipend to join the series, while several other teams, including Minardi Team USA, have reportedly yet to decide. The addition of the Champ Car teams to the 16 cars already in the IRL would make it the biggest field in years.

The conflict between the Champ Car race at Long Beach and the IRL event at Motegi, Japan, is reportedly being resolved, with Motegi possibly moving dates. Tony George, the prefect of IRL, is said to be considering adding several other Champ Car events – including Edmonton, Canada, and Surfer's Paradise, Australia – to bring the combined 2008 schedule up to 19 races, with other Champ Car venues such as Toronto and Mexico City under consideration for 2009. An official announcement could come as early as tomorrow when Champ Car chief Kevin Kalkhoven returns from England, and if confirmed, the move could stand to bring open-wheel racing in America back to the pinnacle.

[Sources: SpeedTV.com via Autosport and Winding Road]



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  • 20 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hope fully now the two combined series will be enough to attract some good engine and chassis competition.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree that those extra aspects of competition are great but the article says that the Champ Car teams are being offered free cars. Does that mean that everyone will be using IRL-spec chassis, Honda motors and Firestone tires? Also, IRL uses ethanol for fuel, I don't know what the fuel regs are for CCWS.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Marco vs. Graham. Go!

      And Ford doesn't produce CCWS engines; Kalkhoven actually bought the engine operations of Cosworth, after Ford sold its shares, for the sole purpose of securing engines for the series. I'm guessing that will be spun off again, hopefully into the original Cosworth parent.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's about effing time. I hope this works out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was fortunate enough to attend an Indy car race before the split. After the split both series sucked and just in the past couple of years has Champ Car reemerged. They are significantly better than the IRL right now. This merger is horrific. Its a victory for Tony George, the sole person who created this entire mess. I'd prefer to let the IRL die, and heck, let the Indy 500 die too. Maybe Tony George will follow suit.

      If I'm gonna watch oval racing I'm gonna watch NASCAR. They put on a much better show. Champ Car is awesome right now, I'd hate to see the series ruined again.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I take offense to your coment about the Indy 500. The Indy 500 is the cornerstone of american racing. Although the split was a dagger in the heart of open wheel racing The Indy 500 was its savior. You are the reason Nascar has become so popular. Please go watch NAP car while the rest of us celibrate the unification
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's too late. The split effectively killed open-wheel racing in the US. I haven't watch it since.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's too little, too late. There is no way that open wheel racing will challenge NASCAR in the near future and when I mean near future I mean the next 10-15 years. The damage has been done, the money is now in NASCAR and so are some of open wheeled racings more marketable drivers.

      The only thing that could save them is a feud between Rahal and Andretti 2008 version to get people excited.
      • 6 Years Ago
      champ cars were better than IRL mainly because of variety of circuits. They were even better than f1 races. I hope the new series incudes just as many road races as ovals because frankly ovals bore me.Champ car fans must be not ignored.
      arnie
      • 6 Years Ago
      What's going to happen to Road America? Right now it conflicts with the Kentucky race. Will it be changed or will the IRL shoot its self in the foot by ignoring one of the finest natural road courses in the world?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @arnie
        IF ths two series unify, it will be up to all open wheel racing fans to aggressively champion our favorite CCWS courses, including Elkhart. With enough fan input, even Tony George might listen.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @arnie
        My thoughts exactly. It's a great course and the closest major track to me. I've been to the Champ Car race there the last few years and it was amazing. With teams from more teams and more promotion, I can only imagine it being one of the best races of the year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am soooo happy. I cant wait for May.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Horrible, horrible news; basically a sell-out by ChampCar. By far the better series is essentially getting acquired by the jackass who was responsible for the split in the first place, and produced a seventh-rate joke of a series. Maybe together they'll make a sixth-rate joke of a series. Good thing I didn't buy any of my race tickets yet, because there's no way I'm watching the bilge Tony George is offering.
      • 6 Years Ago
      As long as Tony George is running the show, it will continue to be a flop. Oval racing is moronic.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Finally. And I hope that those that defected to NASCAR will go back, as I can't stand to watch them.
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