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Della Penna Motorsports

Della Penna Motorsports was an auto racing team that competed in the Toyota Atlantic, IndyCar, and CART series from 1990–2000. The team was founded by Argentinian businessman and engineer John Della Penna, who himself raced in Formula Atlantic during the 1980s. Della Penna got its start in Toyota Atlantic with support from driver Jimmy Vasser in 1990, and by the following season was consistently scoring wins. After Vasser left to drive in CART, Della Penna took a two-year sabbatical from the series, with the hopes of returning with young, untested talent.

United States Della Penna Motorsports
Founded1990
Folded2000
BaseIndianapolis, Indiana, USA
Team principal(s)Argentina John Della Penna
Former seriesIndyCar Series
CART
Toyota Atlantic
Drivers'
Championships
1995 Atlantic (Hearn)
Career
DebutToyota Atlantic:
1990 Sonoma
(Sonoma Raceway)
Indy Racing League:
1996 Walt Disney World
(Walt Disney World Speedway)
CART:
1996 Grand Prix of Long Beach
(Streets of Long Beach)
Latest raceToyota Atlantic:
1995 Laguna Seca
(Laguna Seca)
Indy Racing League:
1996 Las Vegas
(Las Vegas Motor Speedway)
CART:
2000 Fontana
(Auto Club Speedway)
Race victoriesToyota Atlantic: 14
Indy Racing League: 1
CART: 0
Pole positionsToyota Atlantic: 19
Indy Racing League: 1
CART: 0

In 1994 Della Penna signed Richie Hearn to drive in Toyota Atlantic with the hopes of moving up to CART by 1997. Hearn finished second in points that season and won the championship the following season. Della Penna joined the upstart Indy Racing League in 1996 with the goal of transitioning into CART the following year. In five races between 1996 and 1997, Hearn placed 3rd at the Indianapolis 500, scored a pole position at New Hampshire, and won at Las Vegas.[1] That same year Della Penna ran three races during the 1996 CART season using the same equipment as during the 1996 IRL season.

Della Penna went full-time beginning in 1997, but found itself struggling for points and would never finish higher than 5th, despite major sponsorship deals with Budweiser and Fujifilm. The team formed a close relationship with Toyota in 1999 to test its new racing engine program, but still the team's fortunes did not improve. Finally, in 2000, Hearn left CART to pursue a drive in the IRL and was replaced by ex-Formula One driver Norberto Fontana. Fontana failed to impress early on and was replaced mid-season by Memo Gidley for the rest of the season.

After the 2000 season it was announced that Toyota had ended its partnership with Della Penna, leaving the team without an engine for the 2001 season.[2] Rather than sign with another manufacturer, the team officially folded before the beginning of the season. The team and its assets were sold to Blair Racing while John Della Penna went on to mentor Argentinian driver Pablo Pérez Companc through an open-wheel and sports car career.

Racing ResultsEdit

Complete SCCA Toyota Atlantic Championship resultsEdit

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Pts Pos Pos
1990 West LBH SON CGY1 LAG1 WST VAN ROA LAG2
Swift DB-4 Toyota 4A-GE   Jimmy Vasser 36 16 18 1 17 16 21st 20
1991 LBH PHX LIM MON WGL DES TOR CGY1 TRI VAN MDO NAZ LAG
Swift DB-4 Toyota 4A-GE   Jamie Galles 35 11 3 14 6 17 8 22 20 2 10 13 5 16 9th 76
  Jimmy Vasser 36 1 21 22 1 1 1 23 21 7 1 2 27 1 2nd 153
1994 PHX LBH MOS MIL MON TOR TRI MDO VAN NAZ LAG
Ralt RT-40/41 Toyota 4A-GE   Clint Mears 4 6 12 6 5 11th 35
  Richie Hearn 19 10 1 7 3 1 1 4 2 3 14 1 2nd 160
1995 MIA PHX LBH NAZ MIL MON TOR TRI MDO VAN LAG
Ralt RT-40/41 Toyota 4A-GE   Clint Mears 3 10 19 6 12 7 19 5 7 19 9 6 25 9th 66
  Richie Hearn 4 3 2 5 2 5 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 1st 201
Source[3][4]
  1. ^ Non-championship event.

Complete Indy Racing League resultsEdit

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts Pos Pos
1996 WDW PHX INDY
Reynard 95i Ford XB V8t G   Richie Hearn 4 19 4 3 4th 237
  Scott Harrington 44 15 31st 20
1996–1997 NHA LSV WDW PHX INDY TXS PPIR CLT NHA2 LSV2
Reynard 95i Ford XB V8t G   Richie Hearn 4 14 1* 33rd 59

Complete PPG CART Indycar World Series/CART FedEx Championship Series resultsEdit

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Pts Pos Pos
1996 MIA RIO SFR LBH NAZ 500 MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG
Reynard 95i Ford XB V8t G   Richie Hearn (R) 44 10 25 17 29th 3
1997 MIA SFR LBH NAZ RIO GAT MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG FON
Lola T97/00 Ford XB V8t G   Richie Hearn 21 11 13 27 18 14 9 23 23 14 28 27 22 13 9 22 25 15 21st 10
1998 MIA MOT LBH NAZ RIO GAT MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG HOU SFR FON
Swift 009.c Ford XB V8t F   Richie Hearn 10 13 27 23 10 7 28 6 23 10 18 7 5 24 13 16 11 9 18 8 16th 47
Swift 007.i   Hideshi Matsuda 43 18 34th 0
1999 MIA MOT LBH NAZ RIO GAT MIL POR CLE ROA TOR MCH DET MDO CHI VAN LAG HOU SRF FON
Swift 010.c Toyota RV8D/E V8t F   Richie Hearn 10 23 10 11 20 19 22nd 26
Reynard 98i/99i 13 21 22 10 10 16 12 13 12 16 6 16 8 23 27
2000 MIA LBH RIO MOT NAZ MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH CHI MDO ROA VAN LAG GAT HOU SRF FON
Reynard 2Ki Toyota RV8E V8t F   Norberto Fontana (R) 10 15 15 23 Wth 20 Wth 14 21 11 20 28th 2
  Memo Gidley 10 10 12 6 16 19 22 21 21 20th 20
  Jason Bright (R) 18 31st 0

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Skip Myslenski (May 30, 1997). "Hearn On The Rise In Cart Thanks In Part To Della Penna". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  2. ^ "Toyota Drops Della Penna". Crash.net. October 26, 2000. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  3. ^ Champcarstats.com. "Jimmy Vasser stats". Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  4. ^ Champcarstats.com. "Richie Hearn stats". Retrieved October 3, 2017.