1600: Visit to Tatus and Sadev factories by Fran-Am

North American Fran-Am group visits Tatuus and Sadev factories Aspen, CO (March 1, 2002) -- Fran-Am representatives from the US and Canada recently visited the Tatuus race car factory near Milan, Italy, and trained at gearbox manufacturer...

North American Fran-Am group visits Tatuus and Sadev factories

Aspen, CO (March 1, 2002) -- Fran-Am representatives from the US and Canada recently visited the Tatuus race car factory near Milan, Italy, and trained at gearbox manufacturer Sadev in St. Prouant, France, in preparation for the 2002 Fran-Am championships.

The representative group featured authorized North American Fran-Am distributors and suppliers including John and Mike Grubb from J&J Racing, Neil Porter from Porter Racing, Fred Koehnke from PBS Engineering and Jeff Hayashi of JZ Racing as well as Arden Weatherford of Fran-Am US and Jim Ellis of Fran-Am Canada.

"This was a great opportunity for everyone to meet the equipment providers and suppliers that we'll be working with for many years to come," said Weatherford, who serves as Fran-Am's director of operations. "Several of our authorized representatives also received hands-on training on rebuilding the gearboxes and other components that all competitors will be required to use in the 1600 and 2000 series. We were all welcomed with open arms and it's terrific to feel the enthusiasm of everyone involved with bringing this exciting series to North America."

"We were really encouraged by everyone we met, and their vision for the series," said Mike Grubb, owner of J&J Racing. "They are all totally committed to helping drivers progress and to making motor racing available to everyone. The manufacturing equipment is truly state-of-the-art. The gearboxes alone aren't going to require much maintenance. It's more a matter of team's just changing ratios and having a look inside the gearbox after a season."

"The Sadev gearbox assembly is very impressive," said Porter, whose Porter Racing serves as the West Coast supplier of Fran-Am 1600 cars. "The whole operation is much bigger than we expected and the commitment to quality features a computerized inspection process. The gearbox itself is virtually bulletproof, so the only concern would be teams not putting them back together properly."

The Fran-Am 2000 race cars feature a spec-Tatuus carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, sealed 2.0-liter/186-horsepower motor capable of running an entire season without a rebuild, 6-speed sequential Sadev gearbox, and spec-Michelin Sport racing tires. Since gear sets are pre-determined, race weekend adjustments are basically limited to wings, spring rates, ride height, castor, camber and tire pressure. Each race is scheduled for 50-60 miles.

Fran-Am recently announced four of the expected ten race dates on the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship schedule. Confirmed dates include joining with CASCAR at Mosport on June 14-16, the CART FedEx Championship weekend at the Molson Indy Vancouver on July 27, a featured event at Mid-America Motorplex on September 6-8 and the series finale at Firebird International Raceway on December 1. Fran-Am competitors will race for a purse of $25,000, with the 2002 overall series champion winning a fully-funded seat with a leading European team for the 2003 Formula Renault series. Formula Renault is recognized worldwide as a primary feeder for the Formula One stars of tomorrow. Recent graduates include McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen as well as Sauber's Felipe Massa.

The Fran-Am 1600 car features the latest in single-seat racing technology including a Tatuus carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, sealed 1.6-liter/123-horsepower motor, 5-speed sequential Sadev gearbox and spec-Michelin Sport racing slicks. The cost for a complete car including the engine is $29,500.

The 2002 Fran-Am 1600 West Coast series will be operated by the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and include eight events. Each race features a Michelin International-supported $7,000 prize fund, with the series champion winning a complete Fran-Am 2000 race car.

The eight-race 2002 1600 Fran-Am West Coast series is scheduled to begin on August 4 at Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California and conclude on December 1 at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. The Cal Club region of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has also pledged its acceptance of the Fran-Am 1600 and 2000 cars to compete at the regional level.

-www.fran-am.com.

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