DETROIT (December 6, 2000) - Championship Auto Racing Teams announced an aggressive and record-setting 2001 television schedule today that features live coverage of a record 20 races and a record 146 total hours of programming dedicated to coverage of the CART FedEx Championship Series.
Twenty of the 22 races during the 2001 season will be broadcast live domestically on partners ABC and ESPN, consisting of 49½ original broadcast hours. Increased programming hours have been devoted to several events including Texas 600 at Texas Motor Speedway (3 hours), Molson Indy Vancouver (2.5 hours), German 500 at Eurospeedway (2.5), Rockingham 500 at Rockingham Motor Speedway (2.5).
"Our primary goal was to secure live coverage for as many races as possible during the 2001 season," said Keith Allo, CART vice president/group manager for broadcasting. "Generating the television schedule in this fashion was challenging due to the fact that CART races are held in eight different time zones and in eight different countries. However, live coverage of our events was the desire of our teams, sponsors and, most importantly, are our fans. We are extremely pleased to accommodate those wishes in 20 of the 22 events."
With races covering five continents, eight countries and eight time zones, only two will be broadcast tape-delay due to scheduling - Rio 200 at Nelson Piquet International Speedway (March 25) and Vancouver (Sept. 2). Of the 22 total races, nine will be broadcast on ABC, 12 on ESPN and one on ESPN2.
The season-opening Monterrey Grand Prix in Monterrey, Mexico, set for Sunday, March 11, will be televised live on ABC at 4 p.m. ET.
In addition to race coverage, weekend programming will consist of a 1-hour qualifying shows as well as the half-hour "CART 2Day" pre-race program. "Inside CART," a third-year weekly magazine show, returns to the ESPN2 lineup for the second consecutive year. ESPN/ESPN2 also will continue to re-air each race during the week following the event. Collectively, a record 146 hours of CART programming will be seen in 2001.
"We not only have more live race coverage than ever before, but also more hours devoted to CART and more hours for the fans," said Pat Leahy, CART senior vice president for marketing and communications. "This increase in exposure provides an excellent opportunity to build the brand image, showcase the personalities behind the cars, and demonstrate the thrills and excitement of champ car racing."
The ABC/ESPN race broadcast team will remain intact for the 2001 season. Paul Page returns as lead announcer and will be joined by color analyst Parker Johnstone in the broadcast booth. Gary Gerould and Jon Beekhuis will return as the pit reporters. The same crew also returns for "Inside CART" with co-hosts Chris Miles and Michelle Garforth.