Panther Racing, once one of the best little teams in the IndyCar Series, is now being sold off in pieces.
Indianapolis-based Key Auctioneers will be auctioning the complete assets of Panther Racing on July 23. The auction includes several Panther race cars and a variety of rolling stock, memorabilia, car parts, racing equipment and shop tools.
Panther Racing was founded in 1997 by a group that included former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Co-owners of the team along the way included Indianapolis car dealer Gary Pedigo, former radio personality Mike Griffin, television production executive Terry Lingner and Doug Boles, now president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The team had many notable successes over the years including consecutive Indy Racing League championships in 2001 and 2002, and four consecutive runner-up finishes (2008-2011) in the Indianapolis 500.
The team is known for catapulting the career of driver Sam Hornish Jr. and giving the late Dan Wheldon his first ride as an IndyCar driver at the end of the 2002 season.
In the 2011 Indy 500 the team's rookie driver J. R. Hildebrand, was leading when he crashed on the final turn of the final lap. He coasted across the finish line to place second—ironically to Wheldon.
But the team—under the leadership of John Barnes—has struggled in recent years. Earlier this year the team filed a lawsuit against the IndyCar Series (formerly Indy Racing League) and others alleging that bidding improprieties led to Panther losing the $17.2 million Army National Guard sponsorship to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
The auction will include two 2011 IndyCar racing cars, Hornish’s 2003 Chicago and Fontana race-winning, record-setting car, and fiberglass show cars along with the team motor home, trailers, computers and a wide range of other equipment. The complete selection can be found on the Key Auctioneers website.
The auction will begin at 10 a.m. at Panther’s facility at 5740 Decatur Blvd, Indianapolis. Online bidding will also be available. An inspection of the items will take place on July 22 beginning at 10 a.m.