The bolt is back for Ganassi and Scott Dixon
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Target Chip Ganassi Racing wind back the clock for 2016 IndyCar season
American motorsport icons Target Chip Ganassi Racing will be looking back to the roots of their open-wheeled history for 2016, with the paint-schemes of their Target-backed IndyCars sporting the team's famed lightning bolt for the upcoming season.
The Ganassi lightning bolt gained fame during the squad's extremely successful years in the mid to late 1990s. It was during this phase that Alex Zanardi, Jimmy Vasser, and Juan Pablo Montoya all became household names. Zanardi would win back-to-back IndyCar championships in 1997 and 1998, while Montoya would win the title for the Ganassi team in 1999 before winning the Indy 500 in 2000.
Photo / sourced
In a release issued by the series, Dixon — who will be competing at this weekend's Leadfoot Festival in Hahei — said he was "excited" to have the retro livery return to the track, in a year where the Kiwi will be hoping to defend his 2015 crown.
“I think it first showed up in 1995 on (Jimmy) Vasser and Bryan Herta’s car, actually, and then it went through 2001 with Memo (Gidley) I think being the last one.
“I went to see my very first IndyCar race in 1997 in Vancouver. It brings back a lot of great memories, but also of a lot of legendary drivers like Alex Zanardi, Vasser and (Juan Pablo) Montoya. When I came in in 2002, the paint scheme had changed at that point.
“But to me, it’s good to see it. It’s an amazing ride and in this year, with the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, bringing back this iconic paint scheme, we’re obviously hoping for good things.”
A much younger Juan Pablo Montoya, pictured with the iconic livery during its heyday. Montoya ironically now drives for the team's chief rivals, Penkse Racing. Photo / IndyCar
The new paint scheme's unveiling comes one day after the team announced the addition of former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton, who now becomes the team's fourth driver next to Dixon, Tony Kanaan, and Charlie Kimball.
“I couldn’t be happier to join Chip Ganassi Racing’s Verizon IndyCar Series program," said Chilton.
"This organisation is built on winning and their 11 IndyCar Championships back that up. Chip [Ganassi] is the kind of team owner that every driver dreams of working for in their career. He’s accomplished so much in so many different categories over the years, and I can’t wait to start driving for him.”
“Max is a talented young driver who has driven a number of different disciplines already in a short time. He brings a good deal of experience to our IndyCar lineup and we’re looking forward to him being part of our four-car team in 2016 and making a big contribution.” said team owner Chip Ganassi.
The 16-round 2016 season will commence on March 13 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersberg.