Ilmor has confirmed that former 500cc race winner Garry McCoy will ride its new 800cc V4 MotoGP machine, fitted with Michelin tyres, in the final two rounds of the 2006 season.
Ilmor, whose engines have won two Formula 1 titles with McLaren-Mercedes and 11 Indianapolis 500 races, are planning a two-rider entry in the full 2007 MotoGP championship. The bike, which features a chassis designed by Eskil Suter, has reportedly performed admirably in testing - but racing in the final two rounds of this season will give them a much better chance of securing the targeted $20 million racing budget.
"It is a real bonus for us to have a rider like Garry, who has won in 500cc GPs, to be on the bike for the two wild-card races in Europe," AAP
reports team principal Mario Illien as saying.
McCoy took all three of his 500cc victories with the Red Bull Yamaha team prior to the introduction of 990cc four-strokes in 2002. An uncompetitive 2003 season at Kawasaki looked to have ended the Australian's grand prix career and he switched to World Superbikes with NCR Ducati the following year.
The 34-year-old 'Slide King' took one victory in his debut WSBK campaign, putting him on a very limited list of riders to have won both 500cc and WSBK races and helped to secure a ride with Foggy Petronas for 2005. However, Garry never really looked comfortable on the unique FP1 triple and a season hampered by injury ended with him just 23rd in the points. McCoy has spent the 2006 season riding Supermoto.
"This is an exciting project and I'm glad Mario has asked me to race for the team, I'm keen to get amongst the MotoGP guys again," said McCoy.
With the rest of the MotoGP field still using 990cc 2006 spec machines for the final two rounds, at Estoril and Valencia, Ilmor and McCoy are unlikely to threaten the sharp end of the grid - but the acquisition of Michelin tyres, which have won 12 of the 14 races so far this season, is a major boost.