Chip Ganassi Racing has confirmed IndyCar veteran Tony Kanaan will rejoin the team in a multi-year deal which will see him take on oval duties for the No.48 car he will share with seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.
The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series campaign will see CGR field four cars for the first time since 2017 with Johnson, six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson and recently signed Alex Palou at the helm.
The 2004 IndyCar Champion previously ran with Ganassi for four seasons from 2014-2017, collecting 11 podiums which included a sole victory at the 2014 MAVTV 500 at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway.
In 2021, the Brazilian will assume duties for the double-header at Texas Motor Speedway, the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 and the season’s only short oval at Gateway.
The Brazilian’s 2020 campaign with A.J Foyt’s outfit was dubbed ‘#TKLastLap’ as he looked to bow out of the NTT IndyCar Series, however, after the season was left disjointed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Kanaan made it clear he was keen to return.
NTT Data and Bryant – a long-term partner of Kanaan’s – will sponsor the No.48-Honda during his events.
“It’s hard to express in words how excited I am about this announcement,” said Kanaan.
“When Chip and I first started to talk about the opportunity to drive the ovals and share the No. 48 with Jimmie Johnson I couldn’t imagine that we would reach an agreement this fast.
“Chip Ganassi Racing is at the pinnacle of motorsports in North America and being able to be part of the program once again with such great drivers in their line-up is a dream come true.
“I’ve also been very fortunate to enjoy great relationships with my sponsors throughout my career and having companies like Bryant and NTT DATA supporting me once again is a testament to that.
“Both Bryant and NTT DATA have been with me through different teams, wins and even life events. Being able to continue to represent these companies is truly an honour.”
Kanaan’s extensive experience and previous tenure with the team made the Brazilian the ‘right’ choice to partner Johnson in the No.48 according to Team Owner, Chip Ganassi.
“As the Indy car driver market trends younger and younger, experience is something that cannot be taught – especially at the Indianapolis 500,” he added.
“There is no one more experienced in the paddock than Tony, and when we needed the right fit for rounding out our oval program, it was clear he was the right choice.
“We are very familiar with NTT DATA and Bryant over the years and are excited to have both companies back with this program.
“Tony also knows our team, he knows our system and he knows our drivers. We expect the combination of him and Jimmie to give us the one-two punch we’re looking for in the No.48.”