Friday, April 19, 2013
Ryan Briscoe buoyed by several 2013 opportunities
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Out of a ride at the start of the year, Ryan Briscoe is in position to pull off a prestigious sweep.
Chip Ganassi Racing last week hired Briscoe to run the Indianapolis 500 next month, giving him a ride for one of the biggest races in the world. He's also scheduled to run the 24 Hours of LeMans in June, and a sweep would allow him to join A.J. Foyt as the only drivers to win both races in the same year.
The opportunities have left Briscoe optimistic about his future and not dwelling on not having a full-time IndyCar ride.
"I am definitely a very positive natured person and this gives me the opportunity to do Le Mans this year which is a huge event and otherwise I wouldn't be able to," Briscoe said. "This deal probably wouldn't have come about if things would have gone differently. So maybe this is meant to be. I'm excited. I'm very happy with the way that things are going.
"Every time I am in a race car, every time I am with the team, whoever it is, I just want to do my best and make my best impression and move forward."
Briscoe had been in talks with the Ganassi team for Indianapolis earlier this year but sponsorship never metalized. Still available two weeks ago, Ganassi decided last year's pole-winner needed to be in the race.
They put together a deal, and sponsor NTT Data stepped in to fund the effort.
"What Chip Ganassi Racing has always been about, truthfully, is trying to have drivers at the caliber of Ryan drive our race cars," team manager Mike Hull said. "So with that itself it is important to us to have an accomplished, and very, very well-represented race car drivers. And now we have a fourth one for Indy 500."
Briscoe, who drove for Ganassi for one season in 2005, will join past race winners Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, along with Charlie Kimball, in Indianapolis. He'll miss opening day at the track racing in the ALMS race, but will be focused on Indy after that.
Then it's back to ALMS, where Briscoe is running the full season for Level 5 Motorsports. The team won its class last month in the 12 Hours of Sebring.
"I have committed myself to Level 5 racing for this year," he said. "We have a great program together with a couple of cars going to Le Mans and doing the American Le Mans Series. So for this year, with Indy with these guys, that's a huge bonus to me to add that."