JACKIE STEWART VISITS INDIANAPOLIS; TOURS SITE OF 2000 U.S. GRAND PRIX INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Feb. 16, 1999 -- Jackie Stewart, a competitor at the 1966 and 1967 Indianapolis 500s and now owner of the Stewart-Ford Grand Prix Formula One team, today...
JACKIE STEWART VISITS INDIANAPOLIS; TOURS SITE OF 2000 U.S. GRAND PRIX
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Feb. 16, 1999 -- Jackie Stewart, a competitor at the 1966 and 1967 Indianapolis 500s and now owner of the Stewart-Ford Grand Prix Formula One team, today became the first current F1 participant to tour the new Formula One road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and came away impressed with what he saw.
Stewart toured the new course, currently under construction, with IMS President Tony George, IMS director of engineering and construction Kevin Forbes, and Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology and head of Ford's worldwide racing programs.
"It was great to be back here in Indianapolis," said Stewart, a three-time World Champion and one of the most well-known drivers of all-time. "The fact that there will be a U.S. Grand Prix here in 2000 is a very big step forward for Formula One Grand Prix racing. I have felt there has been a tremendous void in our form of motor racing over the past couple of years because there has not been a Grand Prix in the United States.
"The United States is still the capital of the business world, and I don't think we have a team that in some sort of financial support, doesn't have a tie to the United States. Most of the multi-national corporations involved in our sport either have their headquarters here, or this is their largest market.
"I know that Ford is immensely pleased with the likelihood of a U.S. Grand Prix here in Indianapolis. It was a great priority to them and they were very active in lobbying for it."
"I think Tony and his people have done a great job at looking at what they could do here and make a proper race course," said Davis. "We're excited about the fact that Formula One is coming to the U.S., and the fact that it is coming to Indy makes it even more special. We see this as our 'home track' now for Formula One, and Stewart-Ford as the 'home team' for U.S. fans to get behind."
Stewart was impressed with what he saw of the new course, including the area where the cars will make their standing start along the front straightaway.
"The fact that in all likelihood that we will start along that hallowed row of bricks at the start-finish line is very important in terms of the heritage of this place," said Stewart. "And, for that matter, in the heritage of motorsports. There's a great history in Formula One, and there's a great history here, and to start near that row of bricks will be great in terms of nostalgia."
"I think from what Tony showed me this morning, and what is going to happen here, you could end up with maybe the safest race track in the world. The debris fencing here is so much more sophisticated ... and much more so here at Indianapolis ... than anywhere else. The fact that Indy is an established race track with great viewing and facilities is a big factor in their favor. And I think people are going to want to come from around the world to see Indianapolis. People expect to see motor racing in Indianapolis. It's a very impressive arena for racing."