Indy car veteran Alex Tagliani pinned his hopes on driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series, but with the final slot in the team going to Ryan Briscoe, the French-Canadian is now busy deciding on where he should focus his energy for 2014.
Tagliani spent the 2013 season in transition, stepping out of a strained situation with the Barracuda Racing Honda IndyCar team after Toronto and quickly found an opportunity with a factory-affiliated Ferrari Grand-Am Rolex GT outfit).
The 40-year-old’s IndyCar hiatus lasted until the season finale at Fontana where he was drafted in by the Ganassi team, subbing for the injured Dario Franchitti, and also tested for the team earlier this month at Sebring, which only added to his desire to remain with the defending series champions.
Tagliani has also drawn interest from a few different IndyCar teams in recent months, including KV Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and has held talks with the Ganassi operation about driving a second Ford EcoBoost-powered Daytona Prototype entry in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
“Having the opportunity to race and test for Ganassi was an incredible experience for me, and they know what I’m capable of now,” Tagliani told RACER. “That can’t be a bad thing. Looking at the [Briscoe] announcement, there are some sponsor things involved there, and it’s all understandable. I feel very happy about working with the team and I still want to work with them and that’s what we’re talking about now.
“They’ve been talking with me about the (second) sports car they want to run in the new series, and I would love to do that. It’s possible I could run at Daytona with them, and could run a second car with them after that. There’s two months between Daytona and the second race, so we’ll see. I’m also talking with other sports car teams, and there’s IndyCar options for me too.”
Ganassi’s sports car team was given one full-time entry and a second, part-time entry in the TUDOR Championship. With the primary entry filled by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, the team would need the series to expand its second car for a full-season program in order for Tagliani to do more than a handful of events.
“We’ve committed to Grand-Am since 2004 with at least one full-time car and also with two cars on some occasions, so we’d like to think the new series would take very seriously our goal of fielding two cars next year if that’s what we indeed end up doing,” said Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull on the topic of Tagliani piloting a Ganassi DP.
Tagliani hasn’t given up on an IndyCar drive, and says he’ll continue to work on the various options in front of him until the right one is identified.
“There’s a team in particular I’d like to race with in the IndyCar Series, and I think I’d fit perfectly in their organization if that could happen,” he added. “I think there’s good chemistry there, and having been with Ganassi the last few months, I think that has helped people to appreciate I can continue doing this at the highest level. If I can find a home where I have a purpose, have a good commitment from them and feel needed, I’m ready to go.”