Indy Racing League Media Conference
Topics: Indy Racing League
November 13, 2007
TIM HARMS: Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. Our guests is Ryan Briscoe who yesterday was named to drive the No. 16 Penske car in the IndyCar Series in 2008. Good afternoon and congratulations.
RYAN BRISCOE: Thank you. Thanks a lot.
TIM HARMS: He has made 19 starts in the IndyCar Series over the past three seasons, and as a rookie with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2005, he started 14 races, recording three Top-10 finishes and winning the pole position at Infineon Raceway. In 2006 he made four starts, recording a third place finish at Watkins Glen, and in this past season he finished fifth in the Indianapolis 500 in his only start of the season.
Ryan, tell us what it makes to be back in the IndyCar Series full-time and to be able to do it with a team like Team Penske?
RYAN BRISCOE: It really is amazing. You know, it's sort of a dream position for a driver, and you know, to get the chance to come back full-time in the IndyCar Series, extremely excited. You know, I hope I can live up to the expectations, do a great job, and I can't wait to get it all started.
TIM HARMS: You've got some experience in the car, obviously, in the IndyCar Series in the past. But really before the season, there's only a couple of opportunities to do some private testing, and then of course we'll have the open test prior to the season. How quickly do you see yourself getting up to speed, and then further, what type of goals have you set for the season?
RYAN BRISCOE: Well, I've been very lucky to have been able to participate in the Indy 500 this year, and that's an enormous amount track time for me. We had all month there before the race, and I think that's a big step for me looking at my sort of lack of track time in IndyCars the last couple of years so, that was a big help.
And since then, the IndyCar season, I've had a chance to have a test at Milwaukee, had a couple days at Sebring, as well. So, you know, I've been feeling really comfortable in the car and back at home, it's been great getting to know all of the IndyCar crew guys and engineers and so on.
Yeah, you know, feeling really good with the whole situation. So there's not a whole lot of testing between now and the start of the season, but we're going to do as much as we can and try to be competitive from the first race.
TIM HARMS: Now, I read the story that was on IndyCar.com, I read it yesterday, you mentioned that you had been tuning in regularly to watch Helio on Dancing With the Stars. I assume you watched last night as well. What do you think about his perfect score?
RYAN BRISCOE: That's pretty impressive. No, it was good to watch, a lot of fun. I'm a fan and it was a lot of fun. It looks like he's enjoying it, too. I'm really pulling as much as I can for him, and hopefully he'll make it all the way to the end.
Q. How did the fact that you drove for Penske as an off shoot team from Team Penske to the fifth place finishing team at the Indy 500 help you in getting this ride?
RYAN BRISCOE: I think, you know, it wasn't really coincidence, let's say. It was something, you know, sort of organizing in conjunction with Team Penske and obviously all of the equipment came from Penske. And it was just a great opportunity for them to really see me in that situation take part all month, do the race, the most important race of the year. And yeah, I guess I was probably under the eye of Roger and we had a good month, ran competitively all month and had a good race.
I think it definitely helped. I'd say it sure didn't hurt, and it's always good for me getting the track time, as well.
Q. What has changed now that you're driving for Team Penske, not only on the racetrack but off the racetrack; your visibility will increase, your interviews will increase, especially early in the season; are you prepared for that?
RYAN BRISCOE: You know, I'd like to think so. I'm not completely new to this sort of a situation. Although getting this ride, it is the biggest of my career. That's something you come to get used to and appreciate with the job that comes with being a race car driver, and, you know, I enjoy it.
So, you know, it's all a part of the game.
Q. Do you have the races planned or do you have it pretty well locked in to the IndyCar Series?
RYAN BRISCOE: Obviously I'd love to be able to come back and do the Sebring 12 Hour. After all my experience this year with Team Penske, I've certainly got my hands up in that race, but it does compete with the IndyCar commitments. If I can do that, that would be great. You know, it's a good race to do and those cars are a lot of fun to drive. I'd love to do that and we'll see about the 24 Hour, as well. So they are probably the only two races at the moment that I'd be able to do.
Q. Are these races you enjoy? Do you enjoy those?
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, I love them. They are great races. The 2 Hour and 24 Hour, they are quite different to your normal racing and, you know, they are big races. They are important events, and they are ones I would really like to win some time in my career, so I want to have a go at them next year.
Q. What do you look for this year with Team Penske?
RYAN BRISCOE: Hopefully you can see us running at the front, that's my goal. I want to be consistent, you know, be focused every weekend. It's a busy schedule from when we get going to the end of the season, so, you know, I want to really stay focused and just have a very solid season. I'm sure the equipment is going to be very strong, and you know, I'm going to be out there trying to do my part.
So running at the front, and, you know, hopefully we can actually get some wins. That would be the top.
Q. Would you have been content to remain in the ALMS with Penske, or was getting back to IndyCar full-time always on your radar?
RYAN BRISCOE: Well, you know, it's definitely been a priority of mine to try to get into the IndyCar Series again, have a shot at the 500 and the championship and everything.
But definitely my position I'm coming from is a factory Porsche driver with Penske, it's a very good spot to be in. So, you know, it was kind of like, I was in that position knowing that maybe there could come a time where if I was doing a good enough job, then this position could come along; and also content to be patient and you know, keep racing in the American Le Mans Series, which is a series that's really growing and getting stronger and a lot of fun to race in.
But you know, to get this chance with Team Penske in the IndyCar Series, really, it's unbeatable. It's definitely a step forward for me in my career.
Q. Did you have to think twice when it was offered to you, in other words?
RYAN BRISCOE: No. Not at all.
Q. How well do you know Helio, and what are you looking forward to most with working with him?
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, I've gotten to know Helio pretty good this year, and he's a great guy. I've got to say at Indy this year, I never asked a whole lot from him, but he was always helping out, seeing how it was going with setup and how I was feeling in the car, trying to help out as much as possible. He was really great to work with all month long.
So, you know, he's a real fun guy. We get along great. You know, I've got no doubt we're going to be great teammates together.
Q. You had a great run at Indy last year, is there anything from that you learned that will help you out from this coming May?
RYAN BRISCOE: It all helps. It's difficult to really pinpoint one thing that I learned. It's the whole experience, being a part of it all, doing all of the laps, working closely with Rick Mears, with everyone at Team Penske. Just the whole experience, you sort of put it under your belt and you take that with you.
I'm sure as I get into the season, as I go to Indy, I'll be remembering a lot of things that were happening, different situations, as the track changes, as the wind changes, those kind of things. But it will all help in the 500 in 2008.
Definitely it was very interesting from car day this year going into the race. We had all that rain on Saturday and on Sunday morning, and the track had changed quite a lot. It changed the balance of the car from practice on car day, so they are all the sort of things that you remember and take note of and try to learn from for the following time you go back
Q. I know you'll be turning towards Helio for lots of different kind of help with the setup of the car and the way that things happen at Team Penske, but will you also be turning to him to learn some new dance steps?
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, (laughing) I think I'll be turning to him more for race help than dance moves. But I've been watching it pretty closely on TV and taking some notes, you know. I'm not the best dancer out there, though, I've got to tell you.
TIM HARMS: Thanks for taking the time to join us this afternoon. We appreciate that.
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