INDIANAPOLIS (November 22, 2002) - Strengthening a relationship that has been an integral part of Championship Auto Racing Teams since its formation, CART and the Ford Motor Company today announced a two-year partnership to promote and market the fastest open-wheel racing series in North America.
The agreement finalizes the new official title of the CART series, which will now be known as 'Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford'.
Coming on the heels of the agreement that will have Cosworth Racing serve as the exclusive supplier of 2.65-liter turbocharged engines for CART during the next two seasons, Ford has thrown its marketing and promotional might behind the series in a two-year deal that will see the legendary manufacturer develop consumer programs around the significant and growing NAFTA automotive market as well as Europe and Australia that will be designed to raise awareness of the CART series and the Ford brand.
"We're very happy to have this agreement with CART finalized," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. "Ford has been a staunch supporter of the CART series since our debut in 1992, and this is a continuation of our involvement. Not only does this relationship allow us to support our technical partner, Cosworth Racing, but the race series and its high-profile markets will make an excellent platform for Ford to showcase the many new and exciting products that will debut over the next couple of years."
The deal coincides with the 100th anniversary of the fabled manufacturer and gives Ford a marquee position inside the high-tech world of Champ Car racing. Dating back to the days when company founder Henry Ford won his one and only automobile race in 1901, to 1962 when Jim Clark carried his Ford-powered Lotus 29 to the first-ever Champ Car win by a rear-engined car, Ford has been a vital part of the open-wheel racing scene. Ford Racing's legacy rivals that of any manufacturer in the world and the Blue Oval has been carried to championships across the globe with the likes of Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi and Dan Gurney. Ford and Cosworth have earned 59 CART wins and Ford-powered machines have captured CART Manufacturer's championships in 1995 and 2000 as well as powering Nigel Mansell (1993) and Jacques Villeneuve ('95) to CART driver's titles.
"We are obviously pleased and very excited about joining forces with one of the legendary names in all of motor racing," said Christopher R. Pook, CART President and CEO. "Ford is already the OEM leader in automotive performance products and with their recent announcement of the formation of the Ford Performance Group, you can see that they are continuing their aggressive strategy to reach the enthusiast market. CART's successful "Fast Lap" program will feature exciting new technology from Dan Davis' group - Ford Racing Technology, and a couple of the successful Ford SVT models. The entire CART paddock will be a conduit to communicate in the most dynamic way, the bridge between the cars that will be raced on Sunday, and the cars that CART fans buy on Monday. Ford Cosworth power will be at the core of everything that CART accomplishes in the next few years and we could not be more excited about the opportunities that this partnership represents."
In addition to the marketing initiatives and the rebranding of the engines to Ford-Cosworth, Ford cars will become CART's official pace vehicles, Ford trucks will become the official truck of the Simple Green Safety Team, and Ford Racing Technology, which is part of the Ford Performance Group, will continue in its role as the "Official Safety Technology Provider" of the series.
The 20-race 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season will take place in six different countries and will be contested on short ovals, superspeedways, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits, creating the truest test of a car, engine and driver anywhere in racing.
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. 2002 CART champion Cristiano da Matta led a bevy of open-wheel stars this past season competing with teams such as Newman/Haas Racing, Player's/Forsythe Racing, Team Rahal, Fernández Racing, Patrick Racing, Herdez Competition, Mo Nunn Racing, Walker Racing and others. CART Champ Cars are thoroughbred racing machines that reach speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, showcasing the technical expertise of manufacturers such as Ford Motor Company, Lola Cars, Reynard Motorsport and Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC. The 20-race 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will be broadcast by new television partners, CBS, FOX and SPEED Channel. CART also owns and operates its top development series, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.cart.com.