Rolex Sports Car Series Teleconference Transcript January 25, 2005 Paul Newman, Michael Brockman, Cristiano da Matta, Sebastien Bourdais and Sarah Gurtis ADAM SAAL: Thank you for taking the time to join us for a couple of important ...
Rolex Sports Car Series Teleconference Transcript
January 25, 2005
Paul Newman, Michael Brockman, Cristiano da Matta, Sebastien Bourdais and Sarah Gurtis
ADAM SAAL: Thank you for taking the time to join us for a couple of important announcements for the Grand American Road Racing Association as well as Daytona International Speedway and Camp Boggy Creek. There is a lot going on here in Florida as we head into SpeedsWeeks, which kicks off with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on February 5 and 6. Before we get to that, we want to talk about an announcement that we think is as significant as anything that will be going on at the racetrack.
With us today to talk about that is Mr. Paul Newman, who is the founder of Camp Boggy Creek, one of his many Hole in the Wall camps located around the world. Mike Brockman, his friend and co-driver, who also has been a board member of Camp Boggy Creek since 1989. Sarah Gurtis, vice president of marketing and corporate development for Camp Boggy Creek, and no stranger to the Rolex 24 at Daytona. When it used to be the Sun Bank 24 at Daytona a decade ago, Sarah was the main sponsor rep. As well we have the driving team for the Newman Racing/Silverstone Racing No. 79 Ford Crawford Daytona Prototype that Paul Newman and Mike Brockman, as well as Cristiano da Matta and Sebastien Bourdais will be driving at the race.
We have a lot to cover today. We have a lot of great guests so we'll get right to it. Now I'd like to turn it over to Sarah Gurtis to make the announcement that brings all together today.
SARAH GURTIS: We're delighted to be part of this teleconference and thank you everyone for dialing in.
We're very excited about the 2005 Grand-Am season for many reasons. Selfishly, this will be the sixth year that Grand-Am has partnered with Camp Boggy Creek to raise funds for Florida's seriously ill children. This year, however, marks a level of participation that's really unparalleled.
First of all, just a moment about camp. As Adam said, we're one of Paul's Hole in the Wall camps. We have 15 medical specialties that we deal with and we serve children and families at no cost to those children or families. That means we have to raise an awful lot of money every year. We have nine summer sessions and 20 family weekends. We're in Florida, just down the street from the track, so we are open year-round. Since opening our doors in the summer of 1996, we have served over 27,000 children and family members.
Our Grand-Am partnership goes to a new level this year. In 2005, prior to each event, starting with the Grand Prix of Miami, each team will have a chance to symbolically take a Boggy Creek camper along for a ride during the race. We'll be asking they sponsor one of our campers for either a one-week summer camp session or one family weekend.
The second program will be launched on February 2. Grand-Am is going to announce a special program for this season's 15 PaceSetter teams, that is going to be a direct and important impact to camp. We're excited about that announcement.
They started something last year which we were thrilled with, and I think the competitors will enjoy. Any fines that are levied in the 2005 season for any kind of infraction or misbehavior is going to come directly to Camp Boggy Creek. So I'll be one of the people on the wings, despite (Grand American director of competition) Mark Raffauf, I'll be encouraging some paint trading out there. So we're very excited about that.
Also just briefly, Grand-Am is going to be inviting drivers and participants to wear Camp Boggy Creek patches on their uniforms. They're contributing advertising, they're going to be working in the media center to promote us and our mission. And any time that our founder and one of our board members wants to jump in a car and go race, we are pretty excited about it.
ADAM SAAL: It does kind of give you a home team to cheer for, no question about it, as we head into the Rolex 24. Again, Paul, Mike, Sebastien and Cristiano, will be driving the No. 79 Ford Crawford Daytona Prototype. Before we get to that, let's talk about the renewed relationship with Camp Boggy Creek as a proud charity of Grand American. It continues the incredible growth that the Hole in the Wall Camps have demonstrated over the years.
Mr. Newman, how do you feel as you head in and see that both your passions, racing as well as charity endeavors, are combined?
PAUL NEWMAN: What can I say? I'm delighted, I'm encouraged, I'm very grateful for it. As you know, my two passions are giving a camp experience to sick children and racing.
But I'm concerned about this fine thing. I've guaranteed all the expenses. Cristiano and Sebastien and Michael could go out there and just hit everybody, and I have to pick up the tab for it. I'll have to take a closer look at that.
ADAM SAAL: It's a true story. We did have a fairly high profile incident where Jan Magnussen and Max Papis did some door banging and took themselves out of the lead and lost the race. They were each fined $5,000 to boot as well as a visit to the camp. Jan Magnussen, coming up Friday of the Rolex 24, will actually be at Camp Boggy Creek to go out and say 'Hello' to some campers and add to their experience.
Sebastien and Cristiano, we'll see, maybe you guys will have a visit coming up, too. You have to hold that car together to win the Rolex 24, and we'll talk more about that later.
Mike, you're no stranger actually to this type of racing as well as both the film side with Mr. Newman and the charitable component. As a member of the board of directors you're also very involved in this. Tell us about the camp and how special it is.
MICHAEL BROCKMAN: It's special to me. I don't know if anyone knows, but I grew up in Orlando in Central Florida. I had already been involved in the first camp that Paul started in Connecticut, and when it became apparent that there was interest in doing a camp in Florida, it was close to my heart. Luckily I was able to get involved and have been involved since the beginning.
I just feel fortunate to have been able to experience that and watch the camp grow. It's amazing what's happened there. Anything that we can do to raise awareness about the camp and, of course, the bottom line is it's for the children. So anything we can do to raise money for that end, I'm encouraged by that.
ADAM SAAL: We appreciate your contributions. You've been a board member since 1989 and a hometown product from Orlando. Eustis is not far from either location. We're a little over an hour away from Daytona Beach. Anyone is welcome to head out there, our friends in the media, at any time as well as race car drivers.
I'd like to go on and introduce Cristiano da Matta. Cristiano joins us today from Brazil. He'll be soon here in Daytona Beach.
Cristiano, welcome. You're no stranger to your boss' charitable endeavors but you're also known from the racing side, too. Talk a little bit about how excited you are to come join Paul and Mike and Sebastien here at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and what a experience it will be.
CRISTIANO da MATTA: Well, hello, everyone. I think for me it's going to be a completely new experience. I have absolutely zero experience in 24-hour races. The longest race I've ever driven, I think, is a 500-mile race. I also have never driven a prototype car before, so it's going to be a lot of new things for me to learn.
But I'm excited about the whole thing. I think it's going to be good to be together with Paul, Mike and Sebastien. I think we can be a good group and I think we can maybe try to have a shot to get a good position at the end of the race. I'm excited about the whole thing.
ADAM SAAL: Cristiano, what is your total career experience in driving a race car with a roof over your head?
CRISTIANO da MATTA: Well, I don't have a lot of experience. I have had a couple of tests. We have some touring cars. While I was still racing F3 here in Brazil, I was invited to do some Brazilian touring car testing for a couple of different teams. I have probably three days under my belt with cars that have a roof above me. So I don't have a lot of experience. But I don't believe that is that different. I know that it is different, but I hope I can pick everything up quite quickly.
ADAM SAAL: Thank you very much, Cristiano. You'll be open for questions from the media as well as our other guests very shortly.
Last but not least, we'd like to introduce Sebastien Bourdais, who is here in Florida, where he has lived the last couple years since he started his North American career.
Sebastien, you've actually had some experience in endurance racing, running at Spa with some success. Talk a little bit about how new this experience is and how excited you are to be driving in the upcoming Rolex 24 with both your team owner from the Champ Car side as well as one of your former colleagues at that team.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It's been a project for quite a while now. We really wanted to do a race with Paul. Now it becomes true and I'm glad to do it with Cristiano, Mike and for sure Paul. That was the main thing. I think we have a great race car, the Crawford with the Ford engine. You know, as you said, I have quite a bit of experience in endurance racing. I did Le Mans five times and won the 24 Hours of Spa, you know, did quite a few in touring cars and GT cars, and I did a test in DTM. So these Daytona Prototypes are kind of in the middle of a sports car and a DTM car, I would say. It was interesting to drive a bit the car on the Daytona track the other day, but I didn't get very much testing. I'm really looking forward to start the event and hopefully we will do well.
ADAM SAAL: Thank you, Sebastien. Good to have you here.
Paul, it's pretty well-known that the car did catch on fire, a minor fire that was put out and you're uninjured. What is the status of the race car as we head into the Rolex 24? Where is it now? What are they doing to get it back in action? Give us an update on your team, please.
PAUL NEWMAN: The car should be rebuilt and ready to test hopefully at another track in Florida before we actually start testing at Daytona.
ADAM SAAL: So on for the Rolex 24 and looking forward to it?
PAUL NEWMAN: You bet.
ADAM SAAL: Let's go ahead and open it up for questions with the media.
Q: Mr. Brockman, you raced prototypes back in the 1980s, I remember Spice cars predominantly. I remember Mr. Newman racing in the SCCA and winning championships. Did you guys ever team up before in more recent years? Did you team up back in those days for a little racing every now and then?
MICHAEL BROCKMAN: Yeah, we ran together in the prototypes a little bit. Actually, I met Paul I think it was the '77 24 Hours, '77 or '78.
PAUL NEWMAN: '79.
MICHAEL BROCKMAN: '79. The years just slip away. But that's when Paul ran the Daytona Ferrari with Milt Minter and Elliott Forbes Robinson. Over the years we drove different cars together. We drove a prototype for Minter in IMSA, in the big-car series. God, I can't remember.
Q: Must have been a Ford Probe then?
MICHAEL BROCKMAN: No. That was an Oldsmobile-powered Spice, I believe. That was a long time ago.
Q: Mr. Newman, when Camp Boggy Creek was originally introduced, it was the Boggy Creek Gang I believe at that time, you came together with General Norman Schwarzkopf in order to introduce this thing and get it off the ground. I haven't asked this question before, but I've always considered it to be a really interesting pairing of you two guys. How did y'all come together? Was it General Schwarzkopf or Mike Brockman?
PAUL NEWMAN: The General became a member of the board. He was very helpful in solidifying our position there. When he left, General Ellis came in. So we've had a lot of military people connected with it.
But Schwarzkopf was a powerful influence down there, and he was spectacular with the children, which was just great to watch.
I'll tell you, he just was part of it almost from the very beginning. He was instrumental in getting it off the ground. And also he lived in Tampa so there was a Floridian reason for him to be involved.
Continued in part 2