Former Champ Car Champion Paul Tracy looks almost certain to return to competitive action with Walker Racing in the forthcoming IndyCar Series outing at Edmonton - his 'home' race - and he is hopeful it could lead to a full-time comeback in the category.

The Canadian - for years one of Champ Car's biggest stars and crowd-pullers - was left out of work following the demise of the series and merger with the Indy Racing League back at the start of 2008. Since then he has competed on just a sole occasion, finishing a delayed eleventh for Forsythe/Pettit Racing in Champ Car's final hurrah - the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - after clipping the wall early on.

Despite having expressed his keen interest in switching across to the IndyCar Series following Champ Car's collapse, Tracy's insistence on only wanting to race with one of the leading teams after Forsythe shut its doors contrived to work against him. Now, however, it seems he may have got his wish.

"I'll be back in action in the next couple of weeks," the 39-year-old confirmed, speaking exclusively to Radio at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, as he confessed that part of him misses racing and part of him doesn't. "We've got a deal coming together with Derrick Walker to race in Edmonton, and hopefully that will then expand for the rest of the season from there."

Indy Racing League CEO Tony George has of late made no secret of his desire to get Tracy back into a car again, with suggestions initially that the 2003 Champ Car king was being lined up for a return at both Edmonton and Infineon Raceway weeks later, with George's own Vision Racing operation [see separate story - click here].

As to his personal thoughts on the unification of North American open-wheeled racing, the 31-time Champ Car race-winner was confident that it was the right direction for the sport to be heading in - or it will eventually prove to be, at least.

"I think it's good," he underlined. "Obviously it all kind of came together at the last minute and has left a lot of casualties - a lot of drivers without rides and teams without an opportunity to go racing - but I think in the long term the series being back together is the way it should be."

In the meantime, though, Tracy was happy to amuse himself at Goodwood, where he found himself reunited with an old friend - his Penske Racing PC26-97 from eleven years back, a car with which he triumphed on three consecutive occasions early on in the campaign.

"It's been great!" he enthused of his Goodwood appearance. "I'm having a good time; I'm driving one of the cars I had a lot of success with in 1997, so it's very exciting.

"You forget how much turbo lag the cars had back in those days compared with how well they operate currently, so it's a lot different now but it's fun getting in the car. It's not really set up for going up the hill, though - it's got speedway wings and speedway gears!

"The hill is very narrow and I only got up it once on Friday, but again we don't have road course wings on it like some of the Formula 1 cars here do. It's really just for demonstration."

by Russell Atkins


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