Australian Indy 500 entrant pays tribute to late Kalkhoven

Kevin Kalkhoven (left) and Brett Murray (right) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2016 owner Brett ‘Crusher’ Murray has paid tribute to Kevin Kalkhoven, with whom he joined forces to enter the 2016 Indianapolis 500, after the Adelaide-born motorsport identity’s death.

Kalkhoven was a billionaire venture capitalist who also became a major player in global motorsport when he bought the Champ Car World Series and then Cosworth Engineering in 2004, the latter from the Ford Motor Company.

However, he also found success as a team owner in CART/Champ Car and, upon reunification, the IndyCar Series.

KV Racing Technology (KVRT), also known during its lifetime as PK Racing and PKV Racing, won seven races in North American open-wheel competition, its biggest triumph being the 2013 Indianapolis 500 victory with Tony Kanaan.

The squad ran three cars in IndyCar’s flagship race in 2016, including the Pirtek Team Murray entry which was driven by Australian-American rookie Matthew Brabham, grandson of Sir Jack.

Murray himself spoke fondly of that period in particular, following Kalkhoven’s passing.

“Kevin Kalkhoven was one of the best people I have met in racing,” he said.

“We hit it off almost immediately and within a short time I was welcomed into his family.

“While we had some great times at race tracks around the world, the adventures we had away from the track were almost stuff of legend.

“KK was amazingly generous with his resources and his time.

“When I put together PIRTEK Team Murray for the 100th Indy 500, there was really only one team we were ever going to partner with.

“Kevin was excited at what I was trying to achieve and helped me with every resource to ensure we made it to the grid and had the equipment to finish the race.

“He was like a racing ‘father’ to me, which makes this news even more difficult the day I say goodbye to my own father in Australia.

“COVID robbed us of time together in the last couple of years, but one of our most recent holidays together in Port Douglas will remain one of many highlights.

“My love and condolences to Kimberly and Kevin’s wide extended family.”

KVRT would take a total of seven wins during its 14 seasons, including Will Power’s in the 2008 Grand Prix of Long Beach, the last race to be run to Champ Car regulations as part of the unification with the Indy Racing League.

Pirtek Team Murray and Brabham contested both Brickyard IndyCar events in 2016, finishing 16th in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course and 22nd in the Indianapolis 500.

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