Indianapolis 500-winning team owner Kevin Kalkhoven, who also played a major role in the reunification of North American open-wheel racing among other racing-related ventures, died Jan. 4. He was 77.
Kalkhoven was co-owner, with CART champion Jimmy Vasser, of the No. 11 Hydroxycut KV Racing Technology-SH Racing Chevrolet that Tony Kanaan drove to an emotional victory in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Kanaan’s first Indy 500 win was the highlight of more than a decade of team ownership for Kalkhoven, who fielded teams in the Champ Car World Series and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for many champions and stars of the sport, including Kanaan, Vasser, Will Power, Cristiano da Matta, Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais. Kalkhoven’s teams – known as PK Racing, PKV Racing and KV Racing Technology – earned seven victories between 2003-16 in major North American open-wheel competition.
Ownership of various racing teams was only part of Kalkhoven’s deep involvement in motorsports that started after a very successful career as a business executive in fiber-optic telecommunications networks and as a venture capitalist.
Kalkhoven, a native of Adelaide, Australia, joined Gerald Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi to purchase the assets of CART in late 2003 and formed the Champ Car World Series. In November 2004, Kalkhoven and Forsythe bought iconic racing powertrain company Cosworth Engineering from the Ford Motor Company.
In February 2008, Kalkhoven and then-INDYCAR SERIES and Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George completed extensive negotiations that reunified North American open-wheel racing after 12 years of two competing series. The final Champ Car race took place in April 2008 at Long Beach, California, an event co-owned at the time by Kalkhoven and won by Power in a KV Racing Technology entry.
Kalkhoven was a noted philanthropist. He served on the board of directors of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, which benefits children with serious illness. He also was an avid aviator, with a commercial pilot’s license and experience in a variety of aircraft, including Gulfstream intercontinental jets.