EDMONTON (November 17, 2005) -- If the people of Edmonton proved one thing with their inaugural Champ Car race in 2005, it was that they know how to put on a great show.

The show went on in Edmonton again on a sunny Thursday as more than 300 guests and VIPs turned out for the official event launch for the 2006 Champ Car race. The guests were greeted by appearances by Edmonton Mayor Steven Mandel, Minister of Economic Development of Alberta Clint Dunford and Champ Car President Steve Johnson, along with a visit from Canadian Champ Car star Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)

The first Grand Prix of Edmonton drew 200,052 fans to see the Champ Cars do battle on the 1.9-mile Finning International Speedway layout at the Edmonton City Centre Airport, and today that level of support was rewarded as Champ Car and the Edmonton Airport Authority, along with GPE General Manager Greg MacDonald announced an extension that will keep the Champ Cars in Edmonton through 2010.

"Edmonton truly showed greatness in its first year, reaching a level that some events take 10 years to reach," Johnson said. "Canada is a big part of our heritage and we value all of the support we receive in our Canadian events. We are very pleased to announce this extension and look forward to many years of racing in Edmonton."

Race organizers announced a number of changes to the track layout for next year's event, including the addition of 3,600 grandstand seats in the Turn 4-5-6 complex near the event's family zone. In addition, the grassy area between the pits and the frontstretch will be eliminated, moving the pits next to the track and allowing the movements of suites and grandstands 300 feet closer to the action.

"We made some changes based, in part, on the input of our valued fans," said event Technical Director Tom Doerksen. "We want to make sure our fans have every opportunity to experience world-class racing as closely as possible."

Tagliani was on hand along with his 750-hp Team Australia Champ Car and assured the crowd that the success of last year's race was one that stuck with the series all year long.

"It made me proud to be Canadian last year because all season, the other drivers talked about what a great event we had," he said. "The guys couldn't believe what incredible support we got from the fans there."

In addition, MacDonald announced new theme zones that will be set up for the 2006 event. A tuner zone with fan activities and a speed shop will be available along with a 115,000 sq. ft. area devoted to an Alberta Natural Resources Expo. The event organizers are planning a week-long festival surrounding the race complete with a street party, a traveling road show across Western Canada and a Miss Indy competition.

Tickets for the 2006 Grand Prix of Edmonton go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. Fans can get their tickets through or by calling 780-451-8000.