Tony Kanaan’s long-awaited move – after it was reported a week ago by the Associated Press – to Chip Ganassi Racing has been confirmed this Friday in Houston. He will pilot the NTT Data entry.
“It definitely is a special day for me and my family,” Kanaan said in a hastily announced press conference. “Coming back to work with Charlie, Dario and Dixon, we will be a very successful four-car team. Looking forward to future. It’s exciting for IndyCar.”
The bigger and perhaps more surprising news is that the team is switching from Honda to Chevrolet power for the team’s four cars: Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti.
This means CGR is now under the Chevrolet umbrella for both its IndyCar and NASCAR programs. Per discussions with both Target Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Mike Hull and Jim Campbell, vp of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, GM, there has been no determination made as to the status’ of the team’s prototype program for the 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship.
“This thing happened quick with Chevrolet,” Ganassi said. “They have shown they have a great product, and it gives us a great opportunity for our team. This consolidates our manufacturers.”
Ganassi also addressed the question of how long this has been in play, and perhaps whether Ryan Briscoe was an option for the fourth car had he not injured his wrist at Toronto earlier this year.
“It’s a good question; I hadn’t thought of it. We were wanting to get back to a fourth car and this falls into the category of if Dario doesn’t crash in a stock car, would he come back and win three straight championships in IndyCar. You can be hurt in this business,” he said.
Kanaan’s car number was not announced. The move to Chevrolet means Ganassi, Team Penske and Andretti Autosport are all slated to have that powerplant in 2014.
UPDATE (4:25 p.m. ET): Kanaan’s current team, KV Racing Technology, has issued a statement on the Brazilian’s decision to join Chip Ganassi Racing next season:
“Tony Kanaan is an outstanding driver, a great teammate and a good friend. Over the last three years he has demonstrated his professionalism and more importantly, this year brought KV Racing Technology – SH Racing its first Indianapolis 500 victory. The entire organization wishes him the best as he moves forward with his career. KV – SH Racing is and will continue to pursue negotiations with several top drivers and looks forward to competing for race wins and championships in the coming years.”