By Andy Sambidge
Partnership set up to establish UAE Indy Car team, drivers; ultimate aim of entering F1.
A multi-million dollar talent fund has been set up as a first step to establishing a top class motor racing team in the UAE, it has been announced.
International Racing Partners (IRP) and Network Grand Prix said they have partnered to secure a "significant amount of funding" to develop the UAE’s first dedicated Indy Car team.
The fund, which has attracted contributions from Europe and the Middle East running to "millions" will also be used to develop Emirati racing talent.
The partnership said it intends to develop motor racing and driver talent with a view to having the first F1 driver and Moto GP rider from the UAE.
Lawrence Chellenbron, partner in charge of operations and strategy at Network Grand Prix, said: "The fund currently available is in the millions with monies being provided by various sources. This money will be used to build the team infrastructure.
"The intention is to have an Indy racing team, and moto GP (motorcycle) teams based in the UAE using UAE drivers and riders with the ultimate intention to move in to Formula 1 if budgets allow."
Chellenbron added that it was vital that companies based in the UAE supported the programme and the new race teams with sponsorship.
The initiative is currently in talks with a number of worldwide cable television networks to provide coverage of the search for the drivers.
James Iverson, development manager at IRP, added: “Broadcasting the search for the drivers will be an exciting opportunity to build the profiles of those drivers taking part, while at the same time giving everyone at home the chance to follow the progress of all of the drivers as they compete each week. The prize for the winner will be a drive in the F1 style racing Indy Lights world championship."
Greetings, Current IRL Indy Lights Champion and former U.S. A1GP competitor J.R. Hildebrand is currently seeking an opportunity to move up to the IndyCar Series and compete in the Indianapolis 500. Mr. Hildebrand's experience and international reputation would make him an excellent candidate to assist with the development of UAE diving talent. Sonsorship funding would enable his perticipation in the 2010 IndyCar Series, and further establish the link for UAE drivers to reach their next plateau after gaining the requisite Indy Lights experience. I am just a fan, but it occurs to me that these developments establish a great opportunity for all concerned parties. Best wishes in your efforts, America will welcome your participation and supporting Mr. Hildbrand would make it magic. Andy Bernstein Powell, Ohio U.S.A.