The end of the Marty Roth era

Posted by Iannucci | 5/13/2009 | 10 comments »
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On first glance it sounds like someone just picked three names out of a hat: Gil de Ferran, Takuma Sato, Marty Roth. But let's give credit where credit is due as is it May yet? scooped everyone back on May 8th.

Gil de Ferran is here, and according to Mike, so is Takuma Sato. I also saw a few members of de Ferran Motorsports

Let the rumors fly! Here’s a completely unsubstantiated one. Marty Roth has some equipment for sale.
It appears this may in fact be a lot more than a rumor. It seems 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran has acquired the remains of Roth Racing for the express purposes of putting Sato in an IndyCar. Expect to hear an announcement this weekend and to see Sato racing no sooner than Milwaukee.

In fact, even Curt Cavin is saying as much today.

Question: Talking about the rest of the IRL season, not this year's 500: Is there a story behind Gil de Ferran and Takuma Sato being at the track on pole day, and Marty Roth saying that the buyer for his equipment could not take delivery until after May? There's also a rumor that Sato will drive at Motegi this year. Is there any truth to all this craziness? (Mike, Speedway, Ind.)

Answer: I think in this case there is. I know de Ferran Motorsports is looking into a program, and I see no other entity out there interested in buying Marty's equipment. So yes, I can put two and two together.
There a number of ways to look at this. First, de Ferran has been mentioned as a possible defector from ALMS ever since it became apparent that his Acura would only be racing against other Acura teams. Starting an IndyCar team now is either a huge contingency for de Ferran's motorsports endeavors or a possibly even a harbinger of an exit from the ALMS altogether by Acura. I mean, even Scott Sharp - another Acura driver participating in the same class - is at Indy this Month.

Sato is an interesting choice because he comes not just from a Formula One background but was an employee of Aguri Suzuki's former F1 team. Both he and de Ferran have ties to Honda, so you may or may not interpret that as defining who's paying for all of this. Meanwhile, who knows if this has any impact on Suzuki and his Formula Dream program that currently sponsors Hideki Mutoh (as well as an occasional hybrid for Tony Kanaan.)

But most of all, this means Marty Roth is gone. Likely, for good. You can all stop worrying now. And as Forrest Gump so eloquently noted, "That is all I have to say about that".


  1. 16thAndGeorgetown // May 13, 2009 9:38 AM  

    I don't think it's a done deal yet. If it was, then why would Marty still have a garage at IMS?

    I've heard that the Roth equipment is going to a driver that is already in the 500, but without a ride for the rest of the season.

    I hope it does go to de Ferran, but why would he wait until after the biggest race on the circuit to start his team?

    Just going to have to wait and see...

  2. mike // May 13, 2009 10:55 AM  

    There was a subscript to an article in the Indy Star last week where Curt mentioned speaking with Roth. Roth said he would not drive, but was trying to sell his team. The interested party was not going to take delivery till after the 500 though. I guess the original intent was for Roth to show up with his equipment and his signs and then swap everything over to the new team owners in time for them to run Indy....

    But now we are still faced with the chance that Roth might change his mind, go out and run a few laps and potentially decrease the value of his property... in the turn 2 wall.

  3. The SpeedGeek // May 13, 2009 11:00 AM  

    I could see Gil waiting until after the 500, because why would he throw a rookie driver (Sato) into a type of car he's never sat in before at the most intimidating track in the world that isn't built around a German castle? I'd imagine that Sato driving is one of the demands put on the team by Honda (and their presumed giant check), so if he's your set-in-stone driver, then you're better off to wait until Milwaukee, Texas, Iowa, or maybe even the Glen.

    All in all, I think it's a great idea. Relatively cheap contingency for Honda, in case Audi and Porsche fail to show in ALMS next year, Honda gets a ride for a driver that I'd imagine is on a long term retainer anyway (dating back to his BAR days), and quite important to their home audience, and Gil gets to expand his team into an arena that's a whole lot more stable than the current sports car scene.

    I know we're all doing 2+2=9 here (I think, my calculator's broken), but I think it all makes a lot of sense. Fingers crossed for this one over here. Oh, and nice job by Will on the scoop.

  4. Jennifer Coomer // May 13, 2009 11:04 AM  

    Oooooooooooooooooooooooo. I hope it's true.

  5. Anonymous // May 13, 2009 12:27 PM  

    Marty Says he is selling. More then one source has said that the team buying the cars would be racing after May. Seeing that there are only 3 days left till the final qualifying day I am going to assume that there is no way that Roths cars get out on the track. I have also seen that there are 4 cars 2 trailers and lots of equipment ready to be handed over. Takumo Sato was there with Deferan but so was another established open wheel driver from Japan. Does anyone know who that was and do you think this could be a 2 car effort?

  6. vitorfan // May 13, 2009 12:42 PM  

    2+2=9, lol, yeah, something's not adding up here.

    It makes no sense to me that he has a garage at IMS and his team is there with another team interested and NEITHER one of them are going to race the 500?

    Plan on seeing his car on bump day, guaranteed. If you were in his shoes, at the biggest race of year, now is the time to sell your team while someone is interested in running the race. I don't think he needs the money, but if he can't ink a deal, he's going to try and put the car in himself as one last harrah. Just my $.02

  7. 16thAndGeorgetown // May 13, 2009 12:56 PM  

    Cavin just tweeted that last month de Ferran inquired about buying some of Roth's equipment but not all of it, and no contact since

  8. Ryan // May 13, 2009 3:41 PM  

    "2+2=9, lol, yeah, something's not adding up here.

    It makes no sense to me that he has a garage at IMS and his team is there with another team interested and NEITHER one of them are going to race the 500?"
    Well nothing is going to hurt resale value if he's wanting to sell this equipment than it going into the wall.

  9. vitorfan // May 13, 2009 8:31 PM  


    Thanks for your comment, and I agree with you, but obviously you didn't read the rest of my post.

    "I don't think he needs the money, but if he can't ink a deal, he's going to try and put the car in himself as one last harrah."

  10. vitorfan // May 13, 2009 9:06 PM  

    Ok Jeff, where's the news on Oriol Servia racing with Rahal Letterman at?