Reports from his native Czech Republic have suggested that despite being denied a debut race in the Champ Car World Series due to the wildfires in California last weekend, Thomas Enge will still sample CART power with Dale Coyne Racing next week at Sebring.

The 27 year-old was due to be named as a last minute replacement for Geoff Boss in the #11 DCR Lola-Ford for the King Taco 500 at California Speedway before the raging wildfires in the state forced the event to be postponed, then cancelled.

However Enge will still get a feel for the 750bhp CART machines next Thursday and Friday (13-14 November) at the popular Sebring test venue in Florida, also with Coyne.

The charismatic driver has been looking to forge a top line career in the United States after all hopes of a Formula One drive disappeared when he failed a drugs test for marijuana following the Hungarian round of the FIA International Formula 3000 Championship in 2002. The points he lost caused him to lose the 2002 FIA F3000 title to Sebastien Bourdais.

Since then, the driver who competed in three Grand Prix for the ailing Prost team in late 2001 has impressed everyone with his mercurial skills behind the wheel of a Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello in the GTS class of the American Le Mans Series and Le Mans itself.

He also won favour on his first open-wheel IndyCar test on an oval when he drove Sam Hornish Jr's IRL IndyCar machine for Panther Racing at the two-mile California Speedway.

After losing the immensely likeable and talented Darren Manning to the IRL this week, Enge would be a great addition to CART as more and more very quick International Formula 3000 pilots look to the open and friendly Champ Car atmosphere as an alternative to the immediate yet uniform F1 scene.



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