The newly renamed Rapisarda Autosport International is rapidly growing with the Australian-based team bringing on two NHRA stars for the new year – with possible Australian appearances.
Team owner Santo Rapisarda confirmed today that three times NHRA champion Larry Dixon (pictured left) and three times NHRA champion crew chief Lee Beard would be joining them this season for the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Santo Jnr said Australian appearances for Dixon would depend on how they can fit in between the two schedules on opposite continents.
The team are currently in the midst of preparing for round four of the ANDRA Top Fuel championship at Perth Motorplex on February 1-2 and then will be hitting the workshop to get their second car ready to go for returning two-times ANDRA event winner Damien Harris .
“I’m flying back from the US next week so we can go racing in Perth with Allan Dobson and then we will be getting two cars ready to run at the Willowbank Easter event with Damien Harris driving the other car,” he said. “We will be doing as much racing as we can, we are committed to running Damien’s car under our banner now so we will have at the very least one of our cars at each race.”
Beard will taken on a role as director of operations and a crucial part of his involvement in the team will be passing on his skills to Rapisard’s two sons - Santo Rapisarda Jnr and Santino Rapisarda.
Beard said he saw a lot of potential in the Rapisarda Autosport International team.
“My job as director of operations is to oversee the team and teach my skills and craft to Santo’s two sons, Santo Jr. and Santino. I see them as the future of our sport,” he said.
The experience of Beard will be utilised both in US and Australian campaigns, though he will predominantly remain at the team’s Indianapolis workshop.
“The combinations between the Australian cars and the American cars are different but he will give us help with anything,” Santo Jnr said.
Santo Rapisarda Snr said he was extremely pleased to have the talents of Larry Dixon and Lee Beard involved with the team.
“Both Larry and Lee have some of the greatest resumes in NHRA drag racing history,” he said. “Although they have never teamed up together before, we believe their leadership and competitiveness will lead us to victory lane this year. I’m extremely excited to have this pair as part of our organisation.”