Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has announced that Justin Wilson will replace Sebastien Bourdais in its line-up for the 2008 Champ Car World Series season.

The Briton, who was runner-up to Bourdais for the past two seasons while running with the RuSPORT team, will come in to partner Graham Rahal for the new campaign as he seeks to secure his first Champ Car crown - although he admitted that he has a big pair of shoes to fill replacing the four-time champion.

"I am extremely pleased and proud to be joining Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing," the 29-year-old said. "For the entire time I have been competing in Champ Car, they have been the strongest team.

"Sebastien has left pretty big shoes to fill but I have big feet! Joking aside, I am excited to have the opportunity to add to the results Sebastien and other drivers before me have achieved for the team. I am hoping to learn my environment quickly and let the results take care of themselves. I am confident that with having a team like this behind me, we can be championship contenders for 2008."

Rahal meanwhile will return for a second season with the team having finished fifth in his debut campaign while driving the second NHLR car, the highlight coming when he became the youngest driver to take a podium finish at Houston.

Having stepped onto the podium on four occasions, the focus for the 19-year-old will now be on trying to take maiden win while also launching his own challenge on the title.

"I am really looking forward to entering my second season with such a great team, and most of all building on a solid foundation that was started last year," he said. "I think that we should have a strong chance at winning races, capturing podiums, and hopefully earning another championship for this historic team. I think we can all look forward to new beginnings, with great new events, and keep growing the races we have had for many years. This season will hopefully be another championship year for myself, and the whole team."

Team co-owner Carl Haas, who shares ownership with Paul Newman and Michael Lanigan, said he was delighted with the line-up assembled for the coming season, with the team's biggest challenger having now become part of the set-up.

"Paul, Mike and I are excited about our lineup of Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal," he said. "Graham ran well for us in his rookie season last year and showed the potential to win races. Over the past three seasons, Justin has consistently been one of the strongest challengers for the championship and we are now looking forward to having him represent us and again being a contender for the title."

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