CHAMPCAR/CART: Bridgestone joins as 2003 Presenting Sponsor

Bridgestone joins Championship Auto Racing Teams as Presenting Sponsor for 2003 Champ Car racing season. FONTANA, Calif., (November 3, 2002) - Extending a relationship that has seen Bridgestone serve as the lone tire supplier for Championship...

Bridgestone joins Championship Auto Racing Teams as Presenting Sponsor for 2003 Champ Car racing season.

FONTANA, Calif., (November 3, 2002) - Extending a relationship that has seen Bridgestone serve as the lone tire supplier for Championship Auto Racing Teams, the manufacturer announced Saturday afternoon that it would up the ante next year as it becomes the presenting sponsor of the Champ Car series.

Bridgestone joined CART to take one of its first steps in major open-wheel racing 12 years ago when the company partnered with the Indy Lights series, and expanded its reach with the series to the point where the manufacturer felt comfortable with taking the mantle as the presenting sponsor.

"We've come a long way," said Bridgestone Director of Motorsports Al Speyer. "We are extremely happy with our association with CART through those many years. We've enjoyed much success right here at Fontana. We're undefeated in 500-mile races. Some of that was against competition. Now we find ourselves as the sole supplier. Our overall long-term association with CART has been extremely beneficial for our company."

The deal will result in a yet-to-be-determined name and logo change for the Champ Car series, and will also mean increased exposure for the racing series as Bridgestone expressed their ideas for an aggressive marketing program that will aid both parties.

"We are going to market to the general public," Speyer said. "We've already done some things this year with co-promotions. Our new association will have us with six commercials in every one of the CART races. That's an increase from four we had in each race this year. It all generated extra exposure for our brand, our tires, and CART. We will very much take a role to increase Bridgestone brand exposure, not only in the US domestic market, but worldwide. That's very important to us."

The move does not preclude CART from pursuing additional sponsors including a title sponsor for 2003 and beyond, but CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook expressed his delight Saturday in getting the sponsorship deal done with a company that the series has worked so closely with in the past.

"Obviously, for the Champ Car Series, it's very, very important, this announcement for us. The relationship with Bridgestone is a tremendous relationship," Pook said. "To have a company of the international status that Bridgestone brings to us to take the presenting sponsorship role I think speaks very well for our series. We're very, very proud of the relationship. The fact that the company has been with the series so long, as Al said from its inception with Indy Lights, makes it a natural and logical marriage. Our responsibility, obviously, is at the end of the day to help them sell tires. That's what it's about. That's really at the end of the day what we've got to do. We have to deliver value to our client, Bridgestone. They will put value into the series. Our job is to make sure the activation works on a successful basis."

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the CART FedEx Championship Series. Newly-crowned 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series champion Cristiano da Matta is among the open-wheel stars competing with teams such as Newman/Haas Racing, Player's/Forsythe Racing, Team Rahal, Fernandez 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 19-race 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series 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.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Cristiano da Matta , Mo Nunn