CHAMPCAR/CART: "Championship Cars"

Courtesy of CART Online CART Online (December 9) -- Uniting the abundant traditions of the past with the cutting-edge technologies of the present and future, Championship Auto Racing Teams has adopted Championship Cars as the brand name for ...

Courtesy of CART Online

CART Online (December 9) -- Uniting the abundant traditions of the past with the cutting-edge technologies of the present and future, Championship Auto Racing Teams has adopted Championship Cars as the brand name for the cars which compete in its FedEx Championship Series.

"By calling our cars Championship Cars, we reinforce the idea that these cars take part in a national championship," says Andrew Craig, CART president and chief executive officer. "Furthermore, we continue to build on the traditional heritage of the sport, a heritage which many of our fans and followers have embraced.

"Our objective is to build the national championship, and it seems appropriate that at this time we take a name which reinforces the importance of our championship, while at the same time connecting with the history and tradition of the oldest automobile racing championship in the world."

The "Championship Car" name has its roots in the early 1900s. Championship races were organized by the American Automobile Association as early as 1909, and the AAA formally organized the first season-long National Driving Championship in 1916. The term, "Championship Car," first came into vogue in the 1930s, when it was used to distinguish "Champ Cars" from the midgets and sprint cars which were also popular during the era.

The AAA served as the sanctioning body for "Championship Car" racing through 1955, when the United States Auto Club was formed and began sanctioning those events. On Nov. 25, 1978, Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART) was founded and the fledgling open-wheel series launched its inaugural season in 1979. It has blossomed into one of the premier racing series in the world.

The 1998 FedEx Championship Series includes a record 19 events on four continents. Regular competitors in the series include Michael Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Bobby Rahal, Alex Zanardi, Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy. The FedEx Championship Series is broadcast to 188 countries and territories and has a cumulative worldwide audience of more than 973 million viewers.

The FedEx Championship Series season opens with the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami on March 15 at the Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in Homestead, Fla. and concludes with the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota on Nov. 1 at the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The series includes two new events in 1998, the Budweiser 500, March 28 at the new Twin Ring Motegi motorsports complex in Motegi, Japan and the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, Oct. 4 on the streets of downtown Houston, Texas.

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Series INDYCAR