RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA (February 1, 2000) - Cristiano da Matta is set to return to CART FedEx Championship Series competition with PPI Motorsports (formerly racing under the Arciero-Wells banner) in a brand new ride: the ...
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA (February 1, 2000) - Cristiano da Matta is set to return to CART FedEx Championship Series competition with PPI Motorsports (formerly racing under the Arciero-Wells banner) in a brand new ride: the #97 Pioneer Electronics/MCI WorldCom Toyota-Reynard. Da Matta is joined by new teammate Oriol Servia, driving the #96 Telefonica Toyota-Reynard, in PPI Motorsports' (PPIM) two-car program.
Da Matta, 25, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, enters his second year of CART competition after a successful rookie effort with PPI Motorsports. After qualifying sixth in his series debut in Miami, a then-record for the Toyota CART engine program, da Matta scored the engine manufacturer's best finish in history with a fourth-place effort in Nazareth. Da Matta ran in the top ten in 13 events, posting three top-ten finishes and five top-ten qualifying efforts to earn one of the best overall seasons in PPIM and Toyota history.
"I'm very excited about starting the new season in the Pioneer Electronics/MCI WorldCom Champ Car," said da Matta. "We've tested the 2000 Reynard and the new Toyota engine over the winter, and we have been very happy with the results. I think we'll be able to accomplish even more than last year, especially since now I have a whole season of CART competition behind me. The car and the team are both really strong, and we're looking to set some new records."
Pioneer Corporation, a leader in consumer electronics and commercial video products, also debuted on the CART circuit last season as primary sponsor of Scott Pruett's #24 Pioneer Electronics/MCI WorldCom Toyota-Reynard. Da Matta will introduce his new livery at CART Spring Training in Miami, Feb. 8-10.
"We are very eager to start the second season of our sponsorship," comments Takafumi Asano, president of Pioneer Electronics. "Cristiano had a great season last year, and we are looking forward to him representing Pioneer Electronics on the track, to our customers and hopefully on the podium!"
Joining Pioneer Electronics as a major associate sponsor on the #97 Pioneer Electronics/MCI WorldCom Toyota-Reynard is global telecommunications company and longtime PPIM partner MCI WorldCom. MCI WorldCom has divided its former primary sponsorship of the #25 PPIM machine across the team's two Champ Cars and is now featured as an associate sponsor on both the Pioneer Electronics/MCI WorldCom Toyota-Reynard and the Telefonica Toyota-Reynard.