(by Matt Beer on Autosport.com 2-1-2009)
KV Racing have become the latest IndyCar Series team to admit that they might have to scale back their programme in 2009 due to a lack of sponsorship, with co-owner Jimmy Vasser saying that they are currently set to run just one car this year.
Vasser said that unless funding was found soon, the recently-signed Mario Moraes would be their sole representative in the 2009 championship. The team ran Will Power (who is now deputising for Helio Castroneves at Penske) and Oriol Servia last year.
"The bottom line is that we had to lay off 18 people and as of right now we're just running one car in the Indy Racing League," Vasser told speedtv.com.
"It was a very difficult thing to do because we have a good family atmosphere built up here but were past the date on our budget to carry the compliment of people for a two-car team. Those are just the facts."
The IRL provided additional assistance for teams moving across from Champ Car in 2008, but now that support has expired, KV need to find more funding.
"Last year we had no engine lease so it's $2 million more we've got to come up with and we've got less money," Vasser said. "I've never seen anything like this economy in my lifetime and it's tough but we're fighting and we're doing everything we can."
He added that KV would still be capable of running two cars if they secured more sponsorship, despite the redundancies.
"We're still trying to run two cars, we've still 23-25 people and we've kept the infrastructure so we'll be able to fire it right back up," said Vasser. "We're optimistic we can reverse the process and we've got Brendon McManus working flat out to try and find sponsors. These are hard times but that doesn't mean we're lying down and I can promise you we won't compromise the professionalism of this team."
KV are among several IndyCar teams presently struggling to finance their 2009 programmes.
Newman/Haas/Lanigan could cut back to one car for Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Racing recently revealed that they cannot currently afford to run a full season, and Conquest and Dale Coyne Racing have yet to announce any drivers for 2009 - although the latter squad did recruit highly-rated ex-Ganassi engineer Bill Pappas this week.
Front-runners Andretti Green (four cars), Penske and Ganassi (two cars each) are certain to return, while the new 3G team, Panther Racing, AJ Foyt, Dreyer & Reinbold, HVM and Vision Racing have all committed to one car programmes, with additional entries from the latter three teams still possible.