KVSH cuts Pappas, downsizes to single car for Bourdais

KVSH cuts Pappas, downsizes to single car for Bourdais

The KVSH Racing IndyCar operation will be a one-car team in 2016, with Sebastien Bourdais its only driver.

Friday, January 08, 2016 (7:47 pm)
The team co-owned by former driver Jimmy Vasser, former Champ Car Series head Kevin Kalkhoven and James Sullivan has also released noted engineer Bill Pappas.
 
"It's another sign of how lack of sponsorship is putting a squeeze on the motorsports industry and a team like KVSH is having to cut back to one car," Pappas (RIGHT, with Bourdais) told Autosport. "We went through the trim-down at the end of the year and we were led to believe they would go to a one-car effort this year and believed we had the people in place. I had been moved to a technical director's position."
 
Pappas is famous for helping smaller teams achieve success in IndyCar, including helping Dale Coye Racing take its first victory with the late Justin Wilson at Watkins Glen in 2009. The combination also scored a victory at the Texas Motor Speedway oval in 2012.
 
KVSH had two cars in 2015 with Bourdais winning two races and finishing 10th in the championship. Ex-GP2 racer Stefano Coletti competed in another Chevrolet-powered KVSH entry and finished 19th in the standings.
 
Pappas was called into general manager Steve Moore's office on Wednesday and given his release.
 
"It was quite a shock," Pappas said. "I was told with the lack of sponsorship they needed to make some more cuts.
 
"I love IndyCar racing and would like to stay involved with it and help the series grow and become a sustainable opportunity industry for guys like me. I've been at this for 30 years and this is disappointing, to be honest. You have the cards you are dealt and try to make the most of them."
 
Pappas remains hopeful he will find a position and wants to be part of the 100th Indianapolis 500 in May. A return to Dale Coyne Racing is a place he would be interested in but that team already has Michael Cannon as its engineer.
 
"If Dale can find a driver he wants to spend his money on for a second engineer I'd be glad to help them out," Pappas said. "I just want to go racing."
 
Pappas believes the pieces were in place for Bourdais to have a championship contending season in 2016.
 
"Our whole goal towards the end of the year was to give Sebastien an opportunity to legitimately challenge for the championship this year," Pappas said. "It's very frustrating - it's a struggle everywhere. IndyCar has to figure out a way to put more cars on the race track than they have. It seems we are going in the opposite direction."
 
According to a KVSH spokesman, team owners Vasser and Kalkhoven are on vacation and unavailable for comment.
 
Pappas's career has included stops at Roush Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Hall Racing, Walker Racing, Panther Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and KVSH.

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