KV Racing Technology

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KVRacingTechnology.com

KV Racing Technology was originally founded as PK Racing in January of 2003 in Indianapolis, Indiana by Kevin Kalkhoven. The team made its on-track debut at the Champ Car World Series Spring Training in Sebring, Florida on February 4, 2003 with former Formula One test driver Patrick Lemarie behind the wheel of the #27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine.

The inaugural season, led by Team Manager Russell Cameron, saw the team employ four different drivers in search of the right combination. The team started all 18 races earning eight top-10 finishes including three top-five showings and one podium performance.

Lemarie started the first six races earning the team’s first top-10 finish and recording its first three championship points with a 10th place showing at the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida. He then followed up with another top-10 performance placing 10th in the next race at Monterrey, Mexico. Bryan Herta took over for the seventh race of the season at Laguna Seca finishing 11th. Max Papis then drove the next seven events scoring four top-10 finishes including the team’s first top-five showing, a fourth at Road America (placed ninth at Vancouver, Mid-Ohio and Montreal). Following the Montreal race former Formula 1 driver Mika Salo took the reins for the remainder of the season. In four starts, Salo delivered two top-five finishes including PK Racing’s first podium, a third in the Grand Prix Americas in Miami. The Miami race was also the first time a PK Racing driver topped the leader board as Salo led six laps. In his next start, Salo placed fifth at Mexico City. In the season ending championship standings Salo took home team honors placing 16th with 26 points in just four starts.

In 2004, the team was renamed PKV Racing in 2004 and expanded to a two-car effort with Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 IndyCar Series Champion, joining the team in the dual roles of co-owner and driver. Rookie Roberto Gonzalez was also signed to drive the other PKV Racing entry. In their second season PKV continued to improve on the track. Running the same two drivers for the full season the team posted solid finishes almost immediately. Gonzalez notched the first top-10 finish of the season in the second race placing ninth in his native Mexico at the Monterrey Grand Prix. Vasser followed with the team’s fourth ever top-five finish placing fourth at Milwaukee. In the fourth race of the season both drivers finished in the top-10 for the first time in team history with Vasser finishing eighth and Gonzalez 10th. The duo would repeat the feat three more times during the season. In 28 starts, 14 for each driver, PKV scored 14 top-10 finishes including five top-five showings and one podium.

Vasser notched nine of the teams 14 top-10 finishes in 2004 including all five of the top-five placements and the podium (second in Toronto). He set or tied the then team records in every category including best finish (second), most podiums (tie, one), most top-five finishes (five), most top-10 finishes (nine), most consecutive top-10 finishes (six) and best qualifying position (second). In addition, he gave the team its first top-10 showing in the championship standings placing eighth with 201 points.

In 2005, racing legend Jim McGee was brought on board as General Manager of the team. Working from the solid foundation established by Cameron, McGee immediately began to build a team that would compete for wins. One of his first moves was to sign 2002 Series Champion Cristiano da Matta who teamed with Vasser to form a formidable lineup.

With two former champions piloting the PKV Racing entries, the team went on to tie or establish a number of team records en route to the best season in its history. Among the records: Vasser earned the team’s highest season ending finish, placing sixth with 217 points; da Matta scored the team’s first victory winning in Portland, while Vasser earned the team’s first pole (Milwaukee). The two drivers combined to set team records for best combined qualifying, first and fourth at Milwaukee and best combined finish, first and sixth at Portland. They also established team records by both qualifying in the top-five, a team record twice (Milwaukee and Las Vegas, Vasser – third, da Matta – fourth) and in the top-10 in 11 of 13 events including a team record six consecutive races. Da Matta and Vasser finished in the top-10 in the same race three times (eighth/10th at Long Beach; first/sixth, Portland and sixth/seventh, Montreal) and at least one of them placed in the top-six in nine of the 13 events including five consecutive races, the last two also team records. In 26 total starts in 2005, the duo combined to tie team records by earning 14 top-10 finishes, five top-five finishes and set a team record with three podium performances.

Vasser tied his own team record for most top-10 finishes with nine, including four top-five showings and a team record two podiums (thirds in Las Vegas and Australia). He qualified in the top-10 in a team record 12 consecutive races and in a team record 12 of the 13 events. Da Matta finished in the top-10 five times including the team’s first victory. He qualified in the top-10 in 12 of the 13 events, tying Vasser for the team record, and set records with six top-five starting spots including a team record four starts in the first two rows. Da Matta placed 11th in the points race with 139.

In 2006, veteran motorsports manager Mark Johnson took over from McGee, who stepped aside five races into the season. Johnson, who has a long history of building successful motorsports franchises, immediately set out to insure the team would be competitive over the long haul. He expanded the engineering department and added to an already experienced crew. Campaigning two cars for the entire season, with veteran Oriol Servia and rookie Katherine Legge plus a third car for the season opener in Long Beach (Vasser’s record 211th consecutive start), PKV had a solid season.

Servia qualified in the top-10 in 12 of the 14 races with five top-five starting spots. He earned a team record four consecutive top-five qualifying positions and tied Vasser and da Matta for the most top-10 starting spots in a season. Servia had eight top-10 finishes in 14 races including four top-five showings with one podium. He finished 11th in the points with 197, just three points out of 10th and 22 out of fifth. Legge, who earned her ride by virtue of a record setting performance in the 2005 Atlantic Championship Series, became the first female to start a Champ Car/CART race since Lyn St. James at Michigan in 1995 and the first female to lead a Champ Car race (Milwaukee). Legge’s sixth place finish at Milwaukee set a Series record for a female driver (eighth in Long Beach and Cleveland gave her the three best finishes) surpassing a ninth place finish by Janet Guthrie at the 1978 Indy 500. In 14 races, Legge qualified in the top-10 twice and earned four top-10 finishes. She was third in laps completed (1157 of 1251), 11th in laps led (12), fifth in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year race, and 16th in the final standings with 128 points.

In 2007, PKV campaigned two cars with two rookie drivers, European open-wheel veterans Neel Jani and Tristan Gommendy. Johnson, working his first full season as General Manager, along with co-owner Vasser, who took a more active role in the team’s operations, and new Team Manager David Brzozowski, kept the team competitive throughout the season while establishing a number of team and individual records including:. most points in a season by a driver, 231, Jani; most total podiums in a season, four; most podiums by an individual driver, three, Jani; most total top-five finishes, seven; most total top-10 finishes, 18; most top-10 finishes by an individual driver, 12, Jani and most consecutive top-10 finishes, 10, Jani. Jani contested all 14 races qualifying in the top-10 in 11 of the 14 events including five top-five starting spots with a season high of fourth in Houston and Assen. He finished in the top-10 in 12 races including four top-five showings and three podiums placing a season high second at Toronto and San Jose. Jani finished ninth in the championship standings placing him fourth in the rookie of the year race.

Gommendy started 11 events finishing in the top-10 five times with two top-five showings and a best performance of fourth (Assen). He placed 12th in the championship standings and fifth in the rookie of the year race with 140 points. The highlight of Gommendy’s season came in Mont-Tremblant where he captured just the second pole in PKV Racing history and the team’s first on a road course. The pole and a third place qualifying position at Assen tied Gommendy with Vasser for best two combined starting spots by a PKV Racing driver in a single year (Vasser pole at Milwaukee and third at Las Vegas in 2005). Champ Car veteran Mario Dominguez competed in one race for the team in 2007 taking over for the injured Gommendy at Edmonton and Servia ran the final two races qualifying in the top-four in both times including a second place starting spot in Surfers Paradise. Servia earned the team’s fourth podium of the year placing third in the season finale at Mexico City.

The 2008 season was one of transformation. The team was re-branded as KV Racing Technology (KVRT) and contested its first IndyCar Series season. KVRT fielded a two-car effort with Servia returning to the team and newcomer Will Power piloting the second entry, Despite little time to prepare following unification between the Champ Car World Series and the IndyCar Series, KVRT had a solid season. The team was the most consistent and highest ranked of the teams transitioning to IndyCar earning 14 top-10 finishes including eight top-five showings with one victory (Power in the Champ Car World Series finale at Long Beach). Both drivers spent much of the season in the top-10 in the standings with Servia finishing ninth, 358 points, and Power 12th, 331 points. At Long Beach, where points counted toward the IndyCar championship, the team started three cars with Vasser making his 238th career start and first since April 9, 2006 (at Long Beach), and placed all three cars in the top-10 (Power won, Servia fifth and Vasser 10th). Additionally, Power took the pole in the exhibition race at Surfers Paradise, Australia.

Servia, who was competing in his first IndyCar season, but was not considered a rookie because of his extensive oval experience, finished the highest in the standings of the drivers transitioning from Champ Cars to IndyCars, (ninth, just 21 points out of sixth). He was the best of the transition drivers on ovals, tying for the best finish on an oval, fifth in Richmond, and had the best finish of the transition drivers on five of the 10 ovals (Homestead, Indy, Milwaukee, Richmond and Kentucky). Servia scored seven top-10 finishes (five on road/street circuits) including five top-five showings with a season high fourth at Detroit.

KVRT contested its second IndyCar season and seventh overall in 2009 with Mario Moraes driving all but one race. Open-wheel superstar, Paul Tracy also ran five races for the team while veteran Townsend Bell made one start. The team had a solid season highlighted by consistently fast cars, strong performances by Moraes during last four races and a fourth place finish by Bell at the Indianapolis 500.

Moraes, the second youngest driver in the series, competed in his second IndyCar season and first with KVRT. He had several strong qualifying efforts including a career high second place starting position in Japan and a seventh at the Indianapolis 500. Moraes, who had his best IndyCar season in 2009, earned six top-10 finishes including three top-five finishes (the first of his IndyCar career) and his first career podium, a third on the oval in Chicagoland (also had career best road course finish placing fourth in Sonoma). He concluded the year with four consecutive top-seven showings vaulting him to 14th in the final standings with 304 points (he was 21st in 2008).

Tracy made his KVRT debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway finishing ninth. His second start for the team came at Watkins Glen where an early race incident ended his day. Tracy’s next two starts came in his native Canada at Toronto and Edmonton respectively. In Toronto, Tracy was looking at a podium finish when an incident knocked him out of the race. He finished a season high sixth at Edmonton. Tracy’s final start for KVRT came at Mid-Ohio when he stepped in for Moraes, who was attending the funeral of his father, and placed seventh.

Bell had one of the highlight performances of the season. A second week qualifier for the Indy 500 he started 24th, but with a superbly prepared car, Bell and his KVRT crew battled to the end finishing fourth.

In 2010, KV Racing Technology will contest its eighth season of open-wheel completion and third in the IndyCar Series. The team will campaign three cars for the full season with Mario Moraes driving the #32 Banco Panamericano – KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, Takuma Sato piloting the #5 KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry and E. J. Viso behind the wheel of the #8 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine.

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