Twelve years after a damaging split, Champ and the IRL said last week they would merge into a single series, bringing an end to a feud that nearly destroyed the sport.
It is hoped that unification will counter the flow of driving talent and sponsorship money to NASCAR, which dominates the American motorsport landscape.
Both IRL founder Tony George and Kalkhoven said the merger itself would not solve open-wheel racing's problems, emphasising that a lot needed to be done to win back alienated fans.
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"It's been a long and hard road to get here, but we are here," Kalkhoven said at Homestead race track in south Florida.
"In itself, unification is not some magic formula able to take us forward. It's going to take an awful lot of hard work.
"This is something that is going to require a huge amount of work but I think the long term potential is extremely exciting for everybody associated with this."
The unified body will keep the name Indy Racing League and the competition will still be known as the IndyCar Series - reflecting the dominance of the IRL in the new structure.
The new series began to take shape on Wednesday, with the IRL due to open as scheduled on March 29 with a race in Homestead, while Champ Car would run its final race in Long Beach on April 20.
George said the IRL would try to absorb Champ Car races in Edmonton, Canada and Surfer's Paradise, Australia into the 2008 schedule.
The IRL boss also said he would like to see a 20-race schedule in 2009, up from the current 16, anchored by the hugely successful Long Beach Grand Prix and the iconic Indianapolis 500.
It is expected that half the 20 races will be run on ovals and with several events staged outside of the United States.
After losing top drivers such as reigning IRL champion Dario Franchitti and 2006 winner Sam Hornish Junior to NASCAR, George laid out the welcome mat for Champ car teams moving to the IRL.
Newcomers will be handed free Dallara chassis, a Honda engine program and a $1.2 million incentive program.
"I guarantee you everybody is excited about working with Champ car teams coming over," George said. "Our job is to make everyone make everyone feel warm and welcome, as though we've never run a season apart."
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