Skip to content

Kanaan gearing up for Ganassi switch, first test

Nov 7, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

Indianapolis 500 Getty Images

There’s only been a couple weeks since the 2013 IndyCar season ended, and already preparations are well underway for the first round of offseason testing.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, with his KV Racing Technology stint over, can now properly look ahead to his new ride with Chip Ganassi Racing.

“It’s a huge opportunity for me, to join the team that just won the championship,” he said at the Borg-Warner display at the SEMA Show on Tuesday. “It’s quite remarkable to be able to go there at this stage in my career.”

Kanaan confirmed his longtime engineer, Eric Cowdin, will make the move with him to Ganassi but doesn’t know how many of the rest of his “band” of crewmembers can switch as well. In Kanaan’s words, “not my department.”

It seems weird to fathom that in this, the 16th season of his illustrious open-wheel career dating to 1998, that Kanaan had his highest one-race high (Indy) but a career-low in the championship, since he switched from CART to the then-Indy Racing League in 2003. Since his switch, Kanaan had not finished outside the top 10 in points and ninth last year had been his previous worst. He ended 11th in 2013.

“Yeah we really had a lot of ups and downs,” he explained. “The championship result was my worst ever, and that tells you how much we focused on the oval races to win the 500. We went that route and it worked. We set a goal, because we knew we couldn’t compete for the championship with our budget and all that stuff. We won the race that we needed to.”

Of the competition level, Kanaan says it continues to get “deeper and deeper,” and you never know how much deeper it will get.

He does enter 2014 with the peace of mind of not needing to pursue a budget to make the CGR opportunity happen, as he had to do each of the past three years with KV. NTT Data will back his entry.

“Yeah that helps a lot,” he said. “It takes a big weight off my shoulders. I can just worry about winning and racing, and I’m relieved because of that.”

Kanaan’s first test is December 4 at Sebring. He’s optimistic he’ll be in one of the two CGR Riley Ford Daytona Prototypes at the opening round of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

He’ll also have the built-in advantage of having raced Chevrolet twin-turbocharged IndyCar engine before. That will be new to his teammates, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Charlie Kimball, at their first tests.

Latest Posts
  1. Marciello enjoys confident first outing for Sauber

    Mar 27, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Raffaele Marciello AP

    Marciello becomes the first Italian driver in four years to take part in an F1 weekend session.

  2. Palmer to take part in Chinese Grand Prix practice

    Mar 27, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Jolyon Palmer AP

    2014 GP2 champion will take part in his first F1 grand prix weekend session in Shanghai.

  3. Power leads Penske 1-2-3 in IndyCar’s first practice at St. Petersburg

    Mar 27, 2015, 1:50 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Will Power leads IndyCar’s opening practice session of 2015.

  4. Tost excited by prospect of Renault buying Toro Rosso

    Mar 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Practice Getty Images

    However, Renault could pull out of F1 altogether in the near future should it decide that its involvement is no longer viable.

  5. Vettel unsure where Ferrari stands compared to Mercedes

    Mar 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Sebastian Vettel AP

    Hot conditions make for difficult running during practice on Friday.

  6. Practice setbacks leave Hamilton “quite a bit off” in Malaysia (VIDEO)

    Mar 27, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Malaysia F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Defending world champion sidelined by engine issues in FP1 on Friday.

  7. Alonso enjoys F1 return, but admits he is not 100% fit yet

    Mar 27, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    Spaniard completes 45 laps in Friday practice as he gets back behind the wheel of an F1 car for the first time in a month.

  8. Verizon IndyCar Series 2015 preseason content roundup

    Mar 27, 2015, 9:40 AM EDT

    Indypreseasonroundup AP

    Roundup of all the Verizon IndyCar Series preseason posts for the 2015 season, heading into this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

  9. Speed, Duval back for Long Beach Formula E race

    Mar 27, 2015, 9:05 AM EDT

    SpeedP2Miami AP

    Scott Speed, Loic Duval set for further Formula E starts in Long Beach.

  10. Manor makes breakthrough with first 2015 on-track running in Malaysia

    Mar 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Manor 273 Getty Images

    Team should qualify for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, thus completing its comeback.

  11. Hamilton prevented from using special Malaysian GP helmet

    Mar 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-AUS-F1 Getty Images

    British driver planned to use a blue helmet to pay homage to Mercedes title sponsor Petronas in Malaysia.

  12. Hamilton hits back by topping second practice in Malaysia

    Mar 27, 2015, 3:31 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    British driver responds to the pace shown by Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in FP1 by topping the second session on Friday.

  13. WATCH LIVE: Malaysian GP FP2 at 2a ET on NBCSN and Live Extra

    Mar 27, 2015, 1:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Practice Getty Images

    Catch all of the action from second practice live on NBCSN and Live Extra.

  14. Rosberg quickest in Malaysia FP1 as Hamilton hits trouble

    Mar 26, 2015, 11:31 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Practice Getty Images

    Defending world champion forced to stop his car out on track early in practice, but Rosberg enjoys a more fruitful session.

  15. Raikkonen encouraged by Ferrari’s early season pace

    Mar 26, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    © AP © AP

    Finnish driver believes that the team has made a big step forward over the winter.

  16. Mazda Road to Indy: Driver-by-driver preview in Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000

    Mar 26, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    MazdaRoadToIndy

    A quick look through the runners in Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 for 2015.

  17. Nasr: Early races present golden opportunities for Sauber

    Mar 26, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    © Getty Images Getty Images

    Difficulties faced by a number of teams give Sauber an early chance to rack up some points.