Rocketsports Racing has announced that Enrique Bernoldi will drive its #8 car in the 2008 Champ Car World Series.

The 29-year-old, who most recently competed in the StockCar Brazil Series, tested for the Michigan-based outfit a few years ago and came close to doing a deal.

While that agreement didn't come to fruition the former F1 star is excited now about this opportunity and reckons that his experience in Europe and in F1 with the likes of Arrows, Sauber and BAR-Honda should stand him in good stead.

"Racing in the United States is something that I have always wanted to do and I think that Champ Car is the best series for me to have the opportunity to do so," he stated. "I like the variety of circuits that are on the schedule. There is a range of street and permanent courses which will be fun and similar to what I have been racing on in Europe.

"It will be a good challenge for me this year. Not only do I have to learn a new race car, but also how the racing works in the United States. My experience in Europe and Formula One will definitely help me, but the rules are different over here.

"I know that Rocketsports is willing to help me learn as much as I can, as we are all in it for the same reason - to win! Paul Gentilozzi is not only a team owner, but a driver. He will be able to understand what I need to know as a driver, since he has that kind of mentality, so that will be a huge factor to help me progress quickly this year. I think that Rocketsports is a good team.

"I was impressed by the team when I tested with them two years ago. Unfortunately we were able to get a deal together that year, but I am excited to have the opportunity now."

Rocketsports team owner Paul Gentilozzi believes that having agreed the deal with Bernoldi so early will really help them hit the ground running when the new season gets underway on April 20.

"We are excited to have Enrique on board with us this season," he added. "It is nice to be able to sign a driver this early, as it will be a great benefit for us to have him testing with the team during the pre-season.

"Together we can prepare for an exciting 2008 season in the Champ Car World Series. He has been associated with some of the elite Formula One teams and has a great understanding of open-wheel cars. That really showed in his quick learning skills and resulting performance when he tested with us. He is extremely professional and talented; I can definitely see him as a potential race winner in Champ Car."

Rocketsports and Bernoldi will now participate in three pre-season Champ Car sanctioned tests over the next few months, something that should give the Brazilian ample time to get acclimatised with the team and his #8 car.

"It will be great to have three tests with the team before the season begins. I will be able to work with the team and the engineering staff to get the feedback that I will need to narrow the learning curve so that I am prepared for Long Beach, and the rest of the season," Bernoldi continued.

"I feel that there is great potential, I obviously want to go out there earning top five finishes and win races, but first I have to take it one step at a time. I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead for me in 2008."

The first test is scheduled at Sebring International Raceway in a few days time and will run for three-days from February 2-4.


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