This 1996 Reynard Champ Car was driven by Stefan Johanson with sponsorship from Alumax Aluminum. The car was used as the primary speedway car and backup at road courses.
Following the 1996 season, the car was purchased by FEDEX and given a show car livery to celebrate that company's series sponsorship. FEDEX utilized the car promotionally, photographing each of the 1997 series drivers with the FEDEX car at the scenic California Speedway.
The car was purchased by its current owners in 2004 and fitted a Cosworth X8 Series II Turbocharger Champ Car spec engine to replace the ILMOR Mercedes 1C08G unit that is now unavailable. Few conversions of this type have been successfully completed, but after two years the project is now complete and ready for historic racing in the B.O.S.S. Series.
Pick of the Liter - 1996 Reynard Chassis 961.008 Champ Car
Sorry, this FedEx package won't reach its overnight destination quite yet! Instead, the 1996 Reynard Champ Car chassis 961.008 continues enroute with present custodian, Ted Wenz, who delivered a very successful inaugural 'racing' outing at The Glen after nearly two years of prep. It is still dressed in its original color scheme as commissioned by FedEx when it acquired the Reynard as a touring show car to introduce themselves as the major sponsor of CART in 1997.
Initially, the Reynard was campaigned by Bettenhausen Motorsports (BM) with veteran F1 pilot, Stefan Johansson, behind the wheel in 1996. That year, Alumax (quality aluminum products of Alcoa livery) adorned the BM entry.
Additionally, an Ilmor Mercedes 108C engine was the primary setup, but was switched by Wenz for a reliable 2.65 liter Ford-Cosworth XB V8 - the choice of most CART teams between 1992-1996.
Wenz, one of the principles behind the race engine building operation, Marcovicci-Wenz Engineering, realized that this engine change wouldn't be easy. He ultimately solved the glove-tight fit and alignment problems with countless hours on the Bridgeport and invoking his Rensselear Polytechnic Institute's (RPI) education to resolve a host of engineering questions, especially since the Cosworth was an integral structural component.
With 750 hp on tap at full boost to move just 1550 lbs, Wenz was quick to mention, 'I've driven lots of race cars, but to date, nothing compares with the capabilities this thing has. Now all that remains is to get the driver (me) up to the car's potential.' No doubt, this former HSR B.O.S.S. champion (2000 and 2002) will surely deliver this FedEx package to the podium in no time.