CHAMPCAR/CART: CART, Shelby Cobra Challenge Senior Racing Series announcement

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada (September 1, 2001) - Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) and Shelby Cobra Challenge announced today they have formed a partnership that will bring some of motor racing's legendary names together...

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada (September 1, 2001) - Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) and Shelby Cobra Challenge announced today they have formed a partnership that will bring some of motor racing's legendary names together for competition during select CART road-racing weekends beginning in 2002.

The marketing and promotional partnership is for the newly formed Shelby Cobra Challenge Senior Racing Series which will showcase such accomplished drivers as Mario Andretti, Bob Bondurant, Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby and Al Unser, Parnelli Jones, Johnny Rutherford, Danny Sullivan and other racing champions in equally prepared Challenge Cobra racecars.

The announcement was made by CART Chairman and CEO Joseph F. Heitzler and Shelby Cobra Challenge Founder David Parcell during the CART FedEx Championship Series' annual visit to the Molson Indy Vancouver at Concord Pacific Place.

Under the terms of the five-year agreement, CART will market and promote the Senior Racing Series and also retains the television rights for the six-race series.

Shelby Cobra Challenge will conduct and officiate the races as well as construct and maintain the cars, which will be certified by Sports Car Club of America's Pro Racing division. The Challenge Cobra racecar is based on the new Shelby American CSX 4000 Series Cobra and is powered by a Ford 351-cubic inch engine, which generates up to 500-horsepower.

Each race weekend, drivers will be assigned a Shelby Cobra at random, to ensure fair and equal competition. A unique aspect of the program is that the cars will be privately owned by either individuals or businesses and the value of each car will be enhanced through the fact it has been driven in competition by some of racing's top drivers.

"This is a terrific opportunity for CART to help showcase many of open-wheel racing's legendary drivers," said Heitzler. "Being able to work with the Shelby Cobra Challenge to bring back names like Andretti, Fittipaldi and Unser for North American racing fans is something we are very excited about."

Each driver will be guaranteed an appearance fee and will compete for a share of $100,000 in prize money at each race as well as a year-end points fund. Various drivers also will participate in autograph sessions and appearances in local race markets and at the races throughout the weekend.

"We are extremely excited about this new relationship with CART," said Parcell. "To be able to marry the legends of racing and one of the most legendary sports cars in the world is a dream come true. Like fans, we can't wait to see, hear and feel the rumble the Shelby Cobras as they race on the biggest road-racing weekends across the country."

A preliminary schedule for 2002 include CART weekends at Monterrey, Mexico, Portland, Ore., Cleveland, Mid-Ohio, Road America and Laguna Seca. CART is conducting discussions with television entities regarding the broadcast rights for the series.

"The heritage and tradition of Champ Car racing is very important to the new strategic direction we are taking at CART," said CART Senior Vice President of Marketing, Rich Henley. "Having the likes of Mario, Emerson and Danny on-site, recounting not only their racing accomplishments in the Cobras but also their days in Champ Car racing, gives us the ability to bridge the gap between today's terrific CART drivers and those from the past."

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series. The series visits seven countries and four continents during the season and climaxes with the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota on Sunday, November 4 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Thanks to a partnership among Marlboro, Toyota, CART and California Speedway, the winner of the season finale will collect $1 million, one of the largest paydays in all of motorsports. An additional $1 million, as well as the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup, will be awarded to the driver who wins the FedEx Championship Series title.

Champions Michael Andretti, Gil de Ferran, Alex Zanardi 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.

-CART-

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About this article
Series Automotive , IndyCar , SCCA
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Alex Zanardi , Bob Bondurant , Mario Andretti , Parnelli Jones , Danny Sullivan , Emerson Fittipaldi , Johnny Rutherford