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ETCC: Pre-season press conference notes

LG Super Racing Weekend Press Conference: March 6th marked the official start of the 2003 season of the LG Super Racing Weekend, with a press conference taking place during the two-day official test at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

LG Super Racing Weekend Press Conference:

March 6th marked the official start of the 2003 season of the LG Super Racing Weekend, with a press conference taking place during the two-day official test at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. This year, the series will feature the FIA GT Championship, FIA European Touring Car Championship and Formula Renault V6 Eurocup as headline events, with the Renault Sport Clio Trophy and Renault Sport Clio Elf International Cup as support events.

"This promises to be an exceptional season," said Stephane Ratel, chairman of SRW Events. "After two years of development, it has emerged as one of the best platforms in Europe, despite the current economic climate. This is due to the original concept, of putting major European Championships on the same program, to give a truly pan-European series, visiting nine countries, with a strong partnership with Eurosport giving an excellent TV platform."

"The ETCC is ready to start the new season," said KSO chairman and promoter of the FIA ETCC, Marcello Lotti. "The series has expanded over the years, starting with 18 cars, four nationalities and five manufacturers in 2000, growing to 22 cars, hopefully 26 by the end of the season, with drivers of eight nationalities represented and six or seven manufacturers. We would like to welcome new Manufacturer SEAT, and the team representing Skoda. The development over the years can be explained by the excellent promotion, TV coverage and distribution, the new technical rules adopted in 2002, which are beginning to be adopted by national series, and by the popular format, of two short races, ensuring that the drivers have to attack from start to finish, giving spectacular action-packed events."

"After seven years, the FIA GT Championship is healthier than ever," Championship promoter Stephane Ratel said. "This is due to its unique characteristics, being an incredibly competitive series, independent from manufacturer involvement. The level of competition was extremely close last year, proving that long distance racing can be extremely interesting, and looks set to be just as fascinating this year. With new cars such as the Saleen S7-R being homologated, and the Supercar class due to enter in 2004, the series is evolving, and the future is looking bright."

This season will mark the inaugural season of the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup, with the new car replacing the Formula Renault 2000 used in the Eurocup last season. "It was logical that Renault should give young drivers a chance to compete in a series a step further towards Formula One. Therefore they created this series to give young drivers an opportunity to familiarise themselves with items such as a paddle-operated gearbox, tyres changes and pit stops, and a variety of starting procedures," said Jean-Paul Mari, Racing and Communication Manager of Renault Sport Technologies. "We expect between ten and twelve teams, with 20 to 24 drivers, figures we have reached despite the difficult economic conditions. However, we have had a slight delay with deliveries, but a technical information day and three days of testing will be organised before the first race in Barcelona." As for the other Renault Sport events, the Clio Trophy, in its final season (it will be replaced by the Megane Trophy in 2004), hopes to have up to 18 cars, while 25 drivers are expected for the Renault Sport Clio Elf International Cup, running as part of the LG Super Racing Weekend for the first time.

The proof of the success of the LG Super Racing Weekend concept was confirmed by the fact that LG has been confirmed as a title sponsor for the next three years, based on the success of the event for the Korean brand, as well as growing commitment from other sponsors. In terms of viewers, over 350,000 spectators are expected at the tracks in 2003, while over 50 million viewers should tune in on Eurosport, with additional coverage on over 200 TV channels worldwide.

The season gets underway between April 4th and 6th in Barcelona, at the Circuit de Catalunya.

-fia-

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