Print and Go Back ESPN.com: FormulaOne [Print without images]

Tuesday, November 8, 2005
Cheever to drive in Grand Prix Masters

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indianapolis 500 champion Eddie Cheever will drive in South Africa in the inaugural Grand Prix Masters against other former Formula One drivers.

The IRL team owner and driver, who appeared in 132 Formula One races from 1978 to 1989, will compete at Kyalami International Raceway from Friday through Sunday. He'll be racing for the first time since 2002.

"I thought that book had been closed," said Cheever, the 1998 Indy champion. "Now here we are again, with many of the same people, nearly 20 years later."

Other former F1 drivers scheduled to participate are Emerson Fittipaldi, Stefan Johansson, Jacques Laffite, Nigel Mansell, Riccardo Patrese, Hans Stuck and Patrick Tambay.

"We are all older, fatter and wrinkled, but I expect we will be the same drivers on the track with the same character traits," the 47-year-old Cheever said. "I am just hoping that the race is not the full length of a Grand Prix. If it is, I am going to have to stop and drink an espresso midway through the race."

The Grand Prix Masters is being contested in identically prepared cars built by Delta Motorsport and powered by V8 McLaren Cosworth engines that produce more than 600 horsepower.

Cheever's last race was at Texas Motor Speedway in the Indy Racing League's final event of the 2002 season.

"I haven't done anything in racing other than turn left, at very high speeds, for more than 10 years," he said. "It has been a long time since I have driven on a road course."