HAMPTON, GA. In another step toward improving relations between the rival open-wheel factions, CART owner Roger Penske will rent a car from an Indy Racing League team to run a test this month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves will test an Aurora G-Force car owned by Fred Treadway of the IRL, according to Treadway spokeswoman Ruthie Culbertson the strongest signal yet that Penske intends to enter the 500 next year.
The test is scheduled for July 26-27.
Championship Auto Racing Teams boycotted the Indy 500 after speedway president Tony George formed the rival IRL in 1996.
But CART left an opening on its schedule this year, allowing Chip Ganassi's team to enter the 500.
Ganassi driver Juan Montoya, the defending CART champion, became the first rookie in more than three decades to win at Indy. Teammate Jimmy Vasser finished seventh in the May race.
"I don't know what (the Penske test) means," Treadway told the Indianapolis Star. "He said he wanted a chance to run his guys there, and that's what he's going to do. I'm glad we could help. The rest is up to him."
The testing deal is payback for Penske's financial help in sponsoring a Treadway car at the 500.