What a time to be in Jimmy Vasser’s or Kevin Kalkhoven’s shoes. Their KV Racing Technology team has been forced to rebuild more cars in a single IndyCar season than most teams would car to do in five, as their trio of regular drivers – Takuma Sato, Mario Moraes and EJ Viso – and part-time pilot Paul Tracy have amassed approximately 30 wrecked cars in 16 race weekends.
Inevitably some have down to errors by competitors or even car failures, but few could envisage the sheer number of incidents created by their own drivers. What has been even more incredible is the amount of times a KV driver has managed to take out a team mate. There have even been several minor accident in the pitlane this season.
So many unforced errors and crashes, along with a few poor performances have left the regular trio well down in the Championship standings – Moraes (15th), Viso (16th) and Sato (21st).
It is even more galling due to nature of the talent at their disposal. Viso, while erratic, has shown a deal of speed on occasion, yet decent performances have often been shrouded by dented wreckage.
Mario Moraes, who shun brightly towards the end of last year has generally underperformed all season long – the Brazilian seemed relaxed as the season began, but has since fallen away and this has been reflected in what can often be described as dour or anonymous performances. Undoubtedly, the low-point of the year occurred when Mario Moraes managed contact with all three team mates at Toronto.
The real disappointment has been Takuma Sato. The ex-Formula 1 driver arrived with much promise, but has only delivered repair bills – for all the years that I have watched Sato race, I have never seen him crash as much as he has this year. It’s now become a surprise when he sees the chequered flag.
Sato did manage to deliver at Motegi with a 12th place finish (he started 10th), but the Japanese veteran still dented some carbon fibre following a smash during Saturday practice.
Paul Tracy has only competed in two races for KV this year (Toronto and Edmonton), having not qualified for the Indianapolis 500 in May. On both those occasions, the Canadian scored some very welcome points, but with limited funds at his disposal, his time in the driver’s was cut short – a similar situation faces him next year.
So what next for KV Racing? At this stage it is not impossible to see a clean slate for the team come 2011 – there are certainly enough good drivers available (should they have the money) and it would be tough to argue why any of the current posse should be maintained.
The bright points have been few and far between for the American squad – Viso’s 3rd at Iowa and Moraes’ 5th at Watkins Glen are stand outs, but Vasser and Kalkhoven may well look upon this as being a fruitless season. While it’s conceivable that Viso and Moraes may end up with seats at other teams, what happens to Sato is anyone’s guess – it is highly unlikely that many have been impressed with his spate of accidents over the course of six months.