The second I saw KV Racing’s Instagram post that read “Breaking news: Jimmy Vasser to come out of retirement!” I had to check my calendar to make sure the date wasn’t April 1.
Not that this is a bad thing, but in theory it sounded like the 2015 incarnation of what Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing did as a joke last year, when on April 1 the team put out a faux press release indicating a comeback by team co-owner and 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby Rahal.
The difference was, this comeback actually happened – if only for a day.
Vasser and Sebastien Bourdais – driver of the No. 11 Hydroxycut/Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet in the Verizon IndyCar Series – took the team’s old Panoz DP01 chassis out of mothballs for an extra day of running at NOLA Motorsports Park. The DP01s are owned by a collector, who is a friend of team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven’s.
Here’s a roundup of videos (note the sound of the old turbocharged Cosworth engine) and Vasser’s tweets about the comeback, which was made possible thanks to collector Chip Marshall. Vasser’s last day in a Champ Car came in 2008 at Long Beach, which marked the series’ final race before its full integration into the Verizon IndyCar Series as a result of the merger between IndyCar and Champ Car.