INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Briscoe kept waiting for a full-time IndyCar opening.
He finally got his wish – with the series top team.
The former Indianapolis 500 pole winner was hired by Chip Ganassi on Friday as the fourth driver on the series most dominant team and just eight days after Briscoe and his wife welcomed a new baby girl, Finley. Briscoe will fill the vacancy left by Dario Franchittis retirement.
Nope, theres nothing left on my Christmas list, Briscoe said with a laugh after the three-year deal was announced. Thats it.
Briscoe, an Australian, wont need many introductions at team headquarters.
Hell join New Zealands Scott Dixon, the reigning series champ who will chase a fourth career points title in 2014; newly-hired Brazilian Tony Kanaan, the reigning Indianapolis 500 champ who is moving into Franchittis familiar No. 10 car, and Charlie Kimball, who won his first race at Mid-Ohio last summer and is arguably the best young American in the series.
Plus, Briscoe returns to the team that introduced him to IndyCar racing in 2005. Briscoe spent one season with Target Chip Ganassi, but the two sides parted ways after the season and werent reunited again until May when Briscoe, the 2012 Indy 500 pole winner, drove the No. 8 car to a season-best 12th.
Whats changed in those eight years? Plenty.
When I came here in 05, I knew nothing about the sport, Briscoe said. Id been brought up in Europe, trying to make it in Formula One and I really had no appreciation for IndyCar racing. Now, Ive got a lot of experience, Ive won a lot of races and I know what its all about.
Experience is one of the big reasons Ganassi wanted Briscoe on a team that has won five of the last six series championships and three of the last six Indianapolis 500s.
So he chose a guy who has made 109 IndyCar starts, won 12 poles and eight races and has driven for four different teams including Penske Racing, Ganassis biggest rival.
Ryan was the best fit possible with his experience and that goes a long way toward success, Ganassi said.