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Tomas Scheckter

Tomas Scheckter (born September 21, 1980) is a South African racing driver, born in Monte Carlo, currently competing in the Indy Racing League and the A1 Grand Prix series. He is the son of Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter and the nephew of racer Ian Scheckter.

Early years

Scheckter started racing karts in South Africa at the age of 11 and it did not take long for the young driver to reach the podium. He had his first taste of a major championship as a teenager when he captured the South African Kart Championship in 1995. In 1996 he ventured on to the main circuit in the South African Formula Vee series and soon after he was in the South African Formula Ford Series where he posted two wins.

He had proven his speed in South African motorsports and was then off to Europe the following year where he entered the British Formula Vauxhall Junior series where he raced against the likes of Antônio Pizzonia and Takuma Sato. Scheckter earned third in the championship with one victory and one pole. He was also named series Rookie of the Year.

In 1999 Scheckter won the Formula Opel Euroseries championship with a record eight victories and eight poles, and in the process broke all the winning records previously set by Mika Häkkinen, Rubens Barrichello, and David Coulthard. That success landed him a drive that same year in the last two races of the Formula Nissan championship which Fernando Alonso had dominated that whole season. Even though Scheckter was with a new team for this brief stint in Formula Nissan, he captured a win, two poles and a second place position.

Scheckter moved on to the Formula 3 Series in 2000, and in his rookie year, he was the runner-up in the British Formula Three Championship with two victories and two pole positions, while contending again with drivers such as Sato and Pizzonia. He also had time to race in the prestigious Marlboro Masters F3 race at Zandvoort where he took the third podium position. To complete his year, he competed in the final four races of the FIA Formula 3000 Championship, finishing second at Hockenheim behind future IRL teammate Tomáš Enge. He also raced in the Open Telefonica by Nissan, finishing as championship runner-up.

Scheckter was signed as a test/reserve driver by Jaguar for the 2001 Formula One season, but was soon fired after being charged with soliciting a prostitute.

IndyCar Series

Tomas was signed to drive for Eddie Cheever's Red Bull Cheever Racing for the 2002 IRL season. He was the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the year after leading 85 laps of the race. However, Cheever soon grew tired of Scheckter's frequent crashes, and looked to replace him with Buddy Rice. At Michigan International Speedway, Cheever was forced to race Scheckter due to contractual obligations, but gave Rice the best equipment and crew. In a memorable race, Scheckter beat Rice by inches for his first IRL win, while team owner Cheever crashed out. However, he was soon gone from Team Red Bull.

In 2003 he moved to Target Ganassi Racing with mixed results, often being criticized for his inconsistency and frequency of crashing, finishing well behind title-winning team-mate Scott Dixon.

In 2004 he moved to Panther Racing to replace double champion Sam Hornish, Jr.. In 2004 and 2005 Scheckter and Panther were the dominant Chevrolet powered team, greatly outpacing other teams powered by what many considered the weakest engine in the series. Scheckter broke through a horrendous string of bad luck, defeating Sam Hornish Jr. to win the Bombardier Learjet 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in June 2005 for his second career IRL victory.

In mid-2005, Scheckter was announced as one of the drivers for A1 Team South Africa in the inaugural A1 Grand Prix series. He raced in the rounds at EuroSpeedway Lausitz and Estoril.

In 2006, Scheckter drove for Tony George and Patrick Dempsey's Vision Racing alongside teammate Ed Carpenter and finished 10th in points.

In 2007 Scheckter again raced for Vision Racing sponsored by Joost. The South African was one of the few drivers from that year to challenge the Team Penske, Andretti Green Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers on a regular basis during races, on occasion leading the race. He ultimately finished 10th in points for the second season in a row with a best finish of 5th.

For the 2008 season, Scheckter was scheduled to race for Luczo Dragon Racing in 3 races: Kansas, Indianapolis and Infineon. Despite not finishing at Kansas or Indy, Scheckter's promising runs have given the team additional race time at Texas, Detroit, and Chicagoland.

Motorsports Career Results

American Open-Wheel

(American Open Wheel driver results legend) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

IndyCar

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Rank Points
2002 Red Bull Cheever
HMS
6

PHX
Ret

FON
Ret

NZR
Ret

INDY
Ret

TXS
Ret

PPIR
16

RIR
4

KAN
Ret

NSH
Ret

MIS
1

KTY
Ret

STL

CHI

TX2
14th 210
2003 Ganassi
HMS
8

PHX
Ret

MOT
Ret

INDY
4

TXS
Ret

PPIR
8

RIR
18

KAN
9

NSH
10

MIS
3

STL
4

KTY
10

NZR
Ret

CHI
5

FON
5

TX2
Ret
7th 356
2004 Panther
HMS
5

PHX
Ret

MOT
13

INDY
18

TXS
Ret

RIR
Ret

KAN
15

NSH
Ret

MIL
Ret

MIS
19

KTY
Ret

PPIR
Ret

NZR
13

CHI
Ret

FON
Ret

TX2
Ret
19th 230
2005 Panther
HMS
Ret

PHX
Ret

STP
Ret

MOT
10

INDY
Ret

TXS
1

RIR
4

KAN
5

NSH
Ret

MIL
3

MIS
3

KTY
Ret

PPIR
14

SNM
Ret

CHI
4

WGL
Ret

FON
7
9th 390
2006 Vision
HMS
9

STP
Ret

MOT
13

INDY
Ret

WGL
10

TXS
10

RIR
7

KAN
7

NSH
Ret

MIL
3

MIS
5

KTY
7

SNM
17

CHI
10
10th 298
2007 Vision
HMS
8

STP
6

MOT
9

KAN
5

INDY
7

MIL
Ret

TXS
14

IOW
Ret

RIR
7

WGL
13

NSH
11

MDO
9

MIS
Ret

KTY
5

SNM
8

DET
Ret

CHI
Ret
10th 357
2008 Luczo Dragon
HMS

STP

MOT1

LBH1

KAN
Ret

INDY
Ret

MIL

TXS
Ret

IOW

RIR

WGL

NSH

MDO

EDM

KTY

SNM
Ret

DET
Ret

CHI
Ret

SRF2
31st 66

* 2008 season in progress
1 Run on same day.
2 Non-points-paying, exhibition race.

Years Teams Races Poles Wins Podiums
(Non-win)
Top 10s
(Non-podium)
Indianapolis 500
Wins
Championships
7 5 96 8 2 4 34 0 0

Indy 500 results

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish
2002 Dallara Infiniti 10th 26th
2003 G-Force Toyota 12th 4th
2004 Dallara Chevrolet 10th 18th
2005 Dallara Chevrolet 11th 20th
2006 Dallara Honda 11th 27th
2007 Dallara Honda 10th 7th
2008 Dallara Honda 11th 24th

He has started on the fourth row of the Indy 500 every time he has entered the race.

References

External links

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