DETROIT (October 31, 2001) - Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) and Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., announced today that the Bridgestone Potenza racing radial will be the tire all FedEx Championship Series competitors will be racing...
DETROIT (October 31, 2001) - Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) and Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., announced today that the Bridgestone Potenza racing radial will be the tire all FedEx Championship Series competitors will be racing on in 2002.
Bridgestone tires also compete in Formula One competition and will be joining the CART series for the first time next season. While Bridgestone tires have been competing on racetracks around the world since 1963, the brand has had limited exposure to racing fans in the U.S.
"We are very pleased to have the Bridgestone tire brand joining CART and the FedEx Championship Series," said Rich Henley, CART's senior vice president of marketing. "Bridgestone reaches an audience very similar to the CART fan and has a following among enthusiasts and fans alike around the world. We believe Bridgestone, and its advanced technology, is a very good fit for CART and Bridgestone/Firestone."
"We're very excited about featuring the Bridgestone brand in a major open-wheel racing series that has its roots in the U.S.," said Shu Ishibashi, President of the Bridgestone/Firestone U.S. Consumer Tire Group. "From 1998 through 2001, the Formula One World Driver's Championship has gone to Bridgestone-equipped drivers, providing excellent exposure for the Bridgestone brand in European markets and other countries. Since CART has evolved into an international program and the Bridgestone brand is involved with international racing, we believe CART and Bridgestone make a perfect match. We're confident using Bridgestone tires in this demanding series in 2002 will reinforce the brand and complement Bridgestone's exposure in F1."
CART CEO and President Joe Heitzler said his organization supports Bridgestone/Firestone's decision to begin using Bridgestone tires in the series' competitions.
"We've been very pleased with the performance of Firestone in CART," Heitzler said. "In event after event, the tires have been amazingly consistent and safe, contributing much to the quality of our racing. When Bridgestone/Firestone informed us they wanted to use Bridgestone tires in future CART events, complementing the use of Bridgestone Potenzas in Formula One, we recognized that as an astute marketing decision and an effective strategy for the Bridgestone brand. The CART organization is proud to be affiliated with Bridgestone/Firestone, because we know its people are dedicated to giving us great tires for every competition."
The Bridgestone Potenza racing radials for CART will be produced primarily at the Bridgestone/Firestone technical center in Akron, Ohio; some tires will be manufactured at the Bridgestone Technical Center in Tokyo, Japan, and imported into the United States by Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.
"CART is unique in that it races on oval tracks in dry conditions and on road and street courses when it's raining or dry," Ishibashi said. "We're sure the Potenza racing tires will be up to the challenge, and that CART will provide a great showplace to reinforce our message about Bridgestone's advanced technology to vehicle manufacturers, independent tire dealers, our own retail stores and, ultimately, consumers. To support this exposure on track, we're planning a complete marketing program that includes advertising and drive and learn events using CART drivers."
Bridgestone-equipped drivers have appeared in - and won - many events and competitions around the world, including the last four Formula One Championships. In addition to competing in CART and Formula One in 2002, the Bridgestone brand will be seen in a number of other series around the world. The diversity of competition includes motorcycle action in the World Grand Prix 500 cc series and the American Motorcycle Association's 125 cc motocross and supercross series, sedan racing in Europe, Asia and Australia, and go kart racing in numerous regional, national and international series.
"Our motorsports programs feature different brands, but our commitment to providing superior racing tires and professional technical support to every team we work with remains constant," said Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Director Al Speyer. "We're excited about a new era in CART history, a time when Bridgestone-equipped drivers will compete on road, street, oval and superspeedway courses around the world. We are confident the Bridgestone Potenza racing radials will provide these demanding drivers with the consistency, durability and reliability needed to race in so many different competitions."
Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is the largest subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corporation, the world's largest tire and rubber company. Bridgestone/Firestone develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton, and associate and private brand tires. The company also produces Firestone air springs, roofing materials, synthetic rubber, and industrial fibers and textiles.
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series. Champions Michael Andretti, Gil de Ferran and Jimmy Vasser are among the drivers who battle for the FedEx Championship Series title on oval circuits as well as temporary and permanent road courses. CART also owns and operates its top two development series, the Dayton Indy Lights Championship and the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.cart.com.