Firestone Indy Lights technical director Butch Meyer is leaving the series after six seasons to become co-owner of Guthrie Meyer Racing with Jim Guthrie, who has fielded cars in the category since 2006.
The team intends on fielding four cars in the official developmental series of the IndyCar Series in 2009.
“While I have thoroughly enjoyed my years as technical director for the Firestone Indy Lights, I am very excited to move to the next stage of my career as a team owner,” said Meyer, the grandson of Louis Meyer, the first three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.
“Having spent the past six years with the Indy Racing League, I know the strength of the organisation and the dedication they have to continue building both Firestone Indy Lights and the IndyCar Series."
The pairing of Guthrie and Meyer brings together a combined 70-plus years of motorsports experience, both in and out of the cockpit. Both men have been a fixture in IndyCar Series racing since the inception of the open-wheel organisation in 1996 and the addition of the Firestone Indy Lights in 2002.
“Jim has a proven track record as a winning team owner,” Meyer continued, “Our skills complement each other and this partnership has the perfect ingredients to produce instant on-track success.”
It is also a reunion of sorts for the two racing veterans as Meyer built engines for Guthrie when he earned 1997 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year honours.
“The growth of the Firestone Indy Lights is nothing short of amazing,” Guthrie said, “My faith in Butch's knowledge and experience spurred my desire to partner with him, and it is that knowledge that will make us capable of winning every race we enter. He brings tremendous technical depth to our organisation and will enhance the success we have already enjoyed."
While the need to compete fuelled Meyer's decision to swap sides, his goal is to turn Guthrie Meyer Racing into a premier programme in the Firestone Indy Lights series, no mean feat considering that AGR/AFS, Panther Racing and Sam Schmidt Motorsports remain among the opposition.
Prior to joining the Indy Racing League staff, he built an impressive resume including two Indianapolis 500 victories with driver Gordon Johncock and two IndyCar Series championships – 1997 with Tony Stewart and 1999 with Greg Ray as a member of Team Menard.
“Jim and I are both very competitive and the structure of GMR will reflect that spirit of winning," Meyer said. "We are excited about the long-term goals and opportunities that we have and I can't wait to get started.”