HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Oct. 7, 1998) - Brazilian native Ricardo Zonta may soon be headed to the elite Formula One series, but he'll first be making a stop at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex.

Zonta and co-driver Klaus Ludwig will be among the favorites in the Oct. 16-18 FIA Grand Touring Championship Presented by Mercedes-Benz.

Zonta's team, AMG Mercedes, is unbeaten in eight races to date. Bernd Schneider, the defending GT1 World Champion, and co-driver Mark Webber have shared five victories, while Zonta and Ludwig won the opening race at Silverstone, England, the mid-season race at Dijon, France, and the most recent race at A1 Ring, Austria.

With only the event at Homestead and the Oct. 25 season finale at Laguna Seca remaining, Schneider and Webber have only a three-point lead over Zonta and Ludwig in the GT1 standings, 60-57.

Zonta began racing karts at the age of 11, and was the 1991 Parona Karting Champion. He raced in the Brazilian Formula Chevrolet Championship in 1993, finishing fifth in the standings. He placed fifth in the Brazilian Formula 3 championship in 1994, recording two podium finishes, and won both the Brazilian and Sudam Formula 3 championship in 1995, scoring seven victories. He moved to the International Formula 3 Championship in 1996, scoring two victories, and won the championship last year, driving a Lola Super.

In addition to driving the sleek silver Mercedes CLK LM in the FIA Grand Touring Championship, Zonta has also been test driving for the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team.

Next year, Ricardo Zonta is expected to be a regular in Formula One competition. But first, he would like to notch another championship - the FIA GT1 title - and a victory at Homestead could help him achieve that goal.

Tickets for the FIA Grand Touring Championship Presented by Mercedes-Benz start at $40, good for the entire weekend. Paddock tickets, allowing access to the cars and drivers, are an additional $15. For additional information or to place ticket orders, call (305) 230-RACE, or visit the official Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex web site at