Saturday, March 03, 2012

Carrozzeria Touring Disco Volante concept revealed early


Rubens Barrichello may be down, but he most definitely is not out.

The Brazilian driver – a longtime teammate of Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari glory days – has been on the Formula One grid since his fallen countryman Ayrton Senna was still with us, but in the end, he was replaced at Williams by Ayrton's nephew Bruno, effectively ending his F1 career. But while his grand prix racing days may be behind him, Rubinho still has too much talent to simply vanish into retirement.

So where is he going? To IndyCar, following a similar path taken by former masters like Mansell, Fittipaldi and Andretti, but also by contemporary pilots Takuma Sato, Sebastien Bourdais and Jean Alesi. We've been anticipating the move since January when Barrichello was lining up for a test drive with KV Racing, and now the two racing stalwarts have reportedly sealed the deal.

While Rubens had previously considered racing just the road course and street circuit races on the Indy calendar in deference to his wife's reported concerns over oval-track safety, he will, in the end, contest all sixteen races this year, including the Indianapolis 500 and the four other speedways on what was once a calendar dominated by oval racing.

The signing of a multiple grand prix winner like Barrichello stands as a coup for American open-wheel racing, which has been clawing its way back into relevance after the rift between CART and Indy was repaired, attracting more automakers to supply engines for a new Dallara chassis. Rubens will be partnered at KV Racing – the team owned by former Champ Car chief Kevin Kalkhoven and former Indy champion Jimmy Vasser – by longtime friend and race winner Tony Kanaan (with whom he is pictured above at the press conference) and Venezuelan driver EJ Viso.