By MATT KANEBERGAssociated PressThe racing world was buzzing on Monday after a former American champion was given the green light to join a team in Japan to race in the Sochi Winter Olympics.
It was Schnitz Racing’s first major test since a devastating crash in May last year that left three-time world champion Tony Schnitz in a coma and seriously injured his wife.
Schnitz Racing president Tony Schnetz said he had been waiting for the opportunity to test in Sochi for the past four years, but now he was ready to put his racing career on hold.
“I am so excited to be a part of the world’s biggest sporting event,” he said in a statement.
“The world has waited long enough for this to happen.”
Schnetsz was the champion of the Formula 1 world championship from 1998 to 2000 before racing for the German team of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche for the next three seasons before leaving to join Formula E.
He was also a key figure in the rise of Formula E, a new sport that will compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The German team was announced on Saturday by Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag, a former world champion who is now a businessman in Germany.
The team’s first race in Sochi will be in a two-car race at the Sochi track, with the second to be held in the same venue in February 2021.
Schaitz Racing has a long history of success in the American sports car racing market, but he has also competed in several other international circuits.SCHLITSCHRUNNERTony Schnitz, former champion of Formula 1 and former team owner of Schnitz Motorsport in America, died last month after a crash in June.
His wife, Michelle, was diagnosed with a blood clot in her brain and was flown to the hospital in Seattle for treatment.
A family spokesman, Chris Tamburino, said Schnitz had been “surrounded by family, friends and close friends” for a “long time.”SCHIETSZ was awarded the 2012 U.S. Sports Car Driver’s Championship by the F1 Board of Governors after winning the title in 2012.
He has won five of the past six titles.