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Tino Belli joins Panther/Panther DRR as technical director

January 11, 2013
It's an older photo but no less representative of Belli's intensity - Anne Proffit photo

It’s an older photo but no less representative of Belli’s intensity – Anne Proffit photo

After 14 years working with Michael Andretti’s INDYCAR team in its many changing names and guises, renowned aerodynamicist Tino Belli has left the group to become lead technical director for partners Panther Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s collaborative effort in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Panther Racing owner John Barnes worked with Belli in the mid 1990s (Pagan Racing) and attempted to bring the former March Engineering aero whiz to lead Panther’s tech department on start-up in 1997. That wasn’t the time; this is.

“Tino has been a close friend of mine since the mid-1980s and our relationship goes way back,” Barnes acknowledged. “The whole reason he’s here is to help our two teams work together; from the start of this search he’s been our top choice. Tino’s been successful doing this [kind of work, getting multiple teams to work as one] with so many other teams and in so many other opportunities that we realize how positive this move will be for both of our teams, drivers and partners.”

Belli has the task of overseeing the engineering departments of both teams and the collaboration between race engineers David Cripps (working for a third year with Panther’s JR Hildebrand) and Jeff Britton, beginning his second season engineering Panther DRR’s Oriol Servia.

Dennis Reinbold, Panther DRR co-owner understands what a great addition Belli is for the two teams: “We all know this is a tremendous competitive boost to both of our teams going into the 2013 season,” he said. “Tino knows what it takes to make Indy cars go fast and being able to add him to the engineering team we already have in place is going to take our operation to the next level.”

Belli joined March in 1984 and was Michael Andretti’s aerodynamicist when he began his INDYCAR career with Kraco Racing in 1987. Belli became chief development engineer of the Porsche IndyCar program and later designed the Fondmetal and Larousse Formula One chassis between 1991-1994. Shortly after that venture, Belli formed Cyber Dynamics, whose clients included teams in INDYCAR, Formula One and NASCAR. He joined Team Green in 1999 and was an integral part of that operation as it evolved. Outside his work with Andretti Autosport (as it’s currently known), Belli has been instrumental in helping to develop Mezzo Technologies’ advanced cooling systems.

“I’m very much excited about the opportunity to work with Panther Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing,” Belli said. “I have to thank John Barnes, Dennis Reinbold and Robbie Buhl for giving me this opportunity, as both teams have very strong programs in place. I believe collectively we can accomplish some great things together. JR (Hildebrand) and Oriol (Servia) make up a strong driver lineup and I look forward to getting started with the both of them and the rest of the team right away.”

The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season begins in late March at St Petersburg, FL. Testing continues until that time.

By Anne Proffit

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