After much speculation, the announcement has finally been made that Paul Stoddart will have an involvement in the 2007 Champ Car World Series after purchasing a controlling share in the CTE Racing - HVM squad.

Stoddart will run a multi-car team in the series alongside current team owner Keith Wiggins, with the newly titled Minardi Team USA squad running out of the current CTE-HVM headquarters in Indianapolis.

"After taking a year off from motor racing following the sale of Minardi, we've had a chance to consider our options and examine how we might want to be involved with the sport in the future," Stoddart said. "After a lot of deliberation, we've come to the conclusion that Champ Car, with its blend of highly competitive, cost-effective racing and relatively level 'playing field', offers easily the best way forward. We've been in discussion with Kevin Kalkhoven and Keith Wiggins for some time now about a possible involvement, and I'm pleased to confirm today that we are proceeding with our plans.

"In terms of the structure of the new organisation, HVM will become Minardi Team USA, and all the day-to-day management will continue under Keith and his highly skilled staff. This is obviously a new challenge for us, but one about which we are very excited."

The partnership with Stoddart comes at the end of a fine season for the CTE-HVM team, with young Frenchman Nelson Philippe having scored his breakthrough victory at Surfers Paradise and finished an impressive fourth in the standings and team-mate Dan Clarke taking second place in the rookie of the year standings.

With the addition of Stoddart to the squad, Wiggins said he was confident that the team can now move up to the next level to take the fight to teams such as Newman Haas and RuSPORT on a regular basis.

"This is an exciting progression for our company, which will allow us to take it to the next level," he said. "It puts together all the elements we have established at HVM, continues the progress with the CTE programme and adds the resources and talent that Minardi brings. The chemistry between Paul and I is extremely good and I am looking forward to the stable long-term future."

The addition of Stoddart and the Minardi name comes at an exciting time for the Champ Car series as the teams prepare for an early Christmas present in the shape of the new Panoz DP01 chassis, due for delivery later this week.

With that in mind, Champ Car president Steve Johnson said the announcement was an indication of the strength of the series and an a source of excitement for fans looking forward to 2007.

"The addition of an owner with a proven racing background like Paul Stoddart only strengthens the series," he said. Johnson. "Combining his experience and resources with a team that showed last year that it can win races, provides even more reason to be excited about Champ Car's future."

Information on drivers and sponsors is expected in the coming weeks.



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