Ryan Briscoe?s A Perfect Fit At Team Penske

Going into the 2008 IndyCar Series season, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe will be flying the Team Penske colors. Castroneves is the team?s veteran while Briscoe will be the new kid on the block. Briscoe is replacing Sam Hornish Jr., who convinced the Penske organization to let him join the stock-car side of the house.

Briscoe drove Team Penske?s American LeMans Series LMP2 Porsche sports car in 2007 and he also competed in the Indianapolis 500 for the second time, driving a car fielded by Penske?s son, Jay Penske, and businessman Stephen Luzco. The talented Australian driver started seventh and finished a solid fifth in the rain-shortened race.

?It all started two years ago when Wayne Taylor (Briscoe?s agent) asked us if we had any opportunities available for Ryan (Briscoe),? said Tim Cindric, Team Penske president. ?We needed a driver for our ALMS car and decided to give him a test. He did very well and Porsche agreed that he was the right choice.?

Cindric said Briscoe?s performance in last year?s Indianapolis 500 convinced the team they had a bright prospect in their midst. ?With the limitations on testing, the program at Indianapolis gave us a race under out belt and a lot more. We learned we had the right guy and he could hit the ground running, if we had a need.?

Once Hornish?s move took shape, Briscoe was waiting in the wings. Before the decision was made, Briscoe had one final hurdle to clear ? a test on the notorious Milwaukee Mile. ?I don?t think he has ever been to Milwaukee without crashing, so we took him there for a test,? Cindric said. ?Ryan (Briscoe) did well and he turned lap times comparable to those of Helio (Castroneves).?

At the test Cindric also learned the two drivers were the same size. ?Ryan forgot to bring his uniform and we loaned him one of Helio?s. It fit perfectly, so for 2008, we just ordered two more uniforms identical in size to Helio?s but with Ryan?s name on them.?

So looking ahead, Cindric believes the two drivers are a perfect fit not only in size but in skill level for the championship team.

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