- A race-used example of Swift Engineering’s first foray into CART chassis production
- Driven by Michael Andretti to one podium finish across seven rounds of the 1997 CART season
- Recorded its best result with Andretti, 3rd overall at Surfers Paradise, Australia
- One of just six examples developed exclusively for Newman/Haas Racing
- Fitted with a period-correct team livery and road course-specification aero package
A NEW CHALLENGER ENTERS
Michael Andretti accumulated five overall victories and finished the 1996 CART season as runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship. Andretti’s stinging failure of 1996 contributed to the team’s decision to sign a pioneering new chassis development deal with Swift Engineering, a California-based manufacturer which had already garnered acclaim and success with their products contesting the lower tiers of open-wheel formula racing.
The first result of this exclusive partnership, the 007.i offered here, was a revelation for CART aerodynamic innovation; thanks to the return of Cosworth’s XD-series engine and a Hewland six-speed sequential transaxle, the 007.i presented a dynamic threat right from the opening round of the 1997 CART season.
In fact, Swift and Newman/Haas truly shocked the CART world when Andretti marched to a dominant victory in the 007.i’s debut race, the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead International Speedway on 2 March 1997. Newman/Haas Racing records show that at least six examples of the 007.i were produced for the team’s entry in the 1997 CART season, four of which are now offered for sale directly from the team’s headquarters in Lincolnshire, Illinois.
SWIFT-FORD 007.i CHASSIS NUMBER 5
Documentation on file from Newman/Haas Racing shows that this 007.i, chassis 005, is a race-used example driven by Michael Andretti in six rounds of the 1997 CART season. The duo’s best result together was podium finish at the always-glamorous Surfers Paradise street circuit in Australia on 6 April—a truly outstanding effort considering that Andretti qualified 11th on the starting grid.
Unfortunately for Michael Andretti and Newman/Haas, the 007.i’s performance was undercut by two limiting factors. First, it retained several of the same reliability problems as its predecessors, and second, the chassis’ novel aerodynamic developments were quickly adopted by other teams, thereby diminishing much of the design’s competitive advantage. Disappointing results at St. Louis (11th), and Vancouver (16th) were interceded by a points-producing effort at the Mid-Ohio’s Miller 200 on 10 August, which saw Andretti and chassis 005 claim 8th overall.
As presented today, this race-used Swift-Ford 007.i wears highly developed road course-specification bodywork and a period-correct Newman/Haas livery with the notable presence of major sponsors Texaco/Havoline, Kmart, and Duracell. It is not currently fitted with an engine.
For any collector of important American open-wheel racing cars, the 007.i’s ties to Newman/Haas Racing, its aerodynamic innovations, and use by Michael Andretti—heir to one of America’s most successful racing families—cannot be discounted.