Superleague: Rangers pick local driver

RANGERS PICK LOCAL GLASGOW DRIVER FOR SUPERLEAGUE FORMULA

Rangers will look to home grown talent behind the wheel in the Superleague Formula Championship with Glasgow-born Ryan Dalziel spearheading the club’s assault.

The 26-year-old Lanarkshire ace will debut the Rangers-liveried Superleague Formula car at the opening round of the season at England’s Donington Park Circuit, Saturday 30th – Sunday 31st August.

Rangers were the first British-based football club to commit to the new series that aims to fuse the passion of football with the thrill and excitement of top-flight motor racing utilizing V12-powered 750bhp single-seater race cars in each clubs colours.

20 clubs are lining up for the 6-round inaugural season, set to run from August to November 2008, with Rangers joined on the grid by the likes of AC Milan, PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto, Olympiacos and Tottenham Hotspur.

Dalziel’s confirmation marks the first time the Scotsman will contest a full European-based season since he competed in the 2001 British Formula Three Championship.

Since then, Ryan’s talents have been showcased predominantly in North America, notably in the Champ Car World Series and the likes of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected to represent Rangers in the Superleague Formula. I’m excited to be returning to Donington Park for the inaugural race even though it’s been seven years since I last raced there which seems hard to believe,” Dalziel said.

“This is a great new series, one that both football fans and race fans can really get behind. I’m obviously thrilled to be driving for Rangers having grown up in and around Glasgow. Coincidently, my race helmet’s colours are almost identical to those of Rangers so in many ways this is a perfect fit.

"I’m just excited to be a Scottish driver racing for a Scottish club, it means a lot and I hope the fans really get behind our efforts starting at Donington Park.”

Making his full-time debut in the Champ Car World Series last season, Dalziel scored six top-ten finishes and led laps at the Toronto Grand Prix despite racing for a rookie team.

In addition to his accomplishments in Champ Car, he kicked off 2007 with a second-place podium finish racing a Daytona Prototype in the ‘Rolex 24 at Daytona’, the opening round of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and America’s leading twice-around the clock endurance event. This year Dalziel went one better in round five of the championship when he won at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Rangers’ Superleague Formula car was launched earlier this year at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.

“We are thrilled to have Ryan represent the club in Superleague Formula. He has great international experience, he comes from Glasgow and he is a Rangers fan – it really is a perfect combination,” Rangers Commercial Manager, Stuart Cain said.

“I am sure our fans are going to be very excited at this news and we will all be looking forward to seeing him in action at Donington Park.”

Dalziel drove the Rangers car for the first time at the Superleague Formula test at the Vallelunga circuit near Rome. He was joined joined on track by a number of other leading young stars including Robert Doornbos (AC Milan), Yelmer Buurman (PSV Eindhoven), and Daniel la Rosa (Olympiacos).

The 2008 Superleague Formula schedule kicks off at Donington Park (30-31 August) before moving on to venues in Germany (Nurburgring, 20-21 September), Belgium (Zolder, 4-5 October), Portugal (Estoril, 18-19 October), Italy (Vallelunga, 1-2 November) and the season finale in Spain (Jerez, 22-23 November).