INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 20, 2002) - Responding to positive inquiries from throughout the motorsports community to its new engine supplier relationship with Cosworth Racing, Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE:MPH) is providing details...
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 20, 2002) - Responding to positive inquiries from throughout the motorsports community to its new engine supplier relationship with Cosworth Racing, Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE:MPH) is providing details about the program and, in particular, its future plans to attract new interest in the series.
The CART FedEx Championship Series has taken major steps in securing an affordable future for the series and its teams, while keeping the technologically-advanced turbocharged engines that have continued to make the CART series the best-attended open-wheel racing series in North America.
Cosworth Racing will supply 2.65-liter, turbocharged V8 engines to CART for the next two seasons. Under the terms of the CART/Cosworth Memorandum of Understanding, the engine manufacturer will sell 100 engines to CART, which will in turn be leased to participating teams annually. In the new relationship, Cosworth Racing will provide engineering support for the teams, as well as electronic equipment, installation kits with fuel systems and wastegate packages. The end result is a high-tech engine program at a savings of more than 50 percent over current engine leases that fall into the $2.5 - $4 million range.
"For us, it will save us significant money," said Herdez Competition Managing Director Keith Wiggins. "It's no secret, but it's going to save us in excess of $3 million. So we're already well towards our second car."
The net cost of an engine program in 2003 to each team will be $1,125,000. Included within this price are rebuilding costs to Cosworth and the annual lease fee to CART that is offset by the incremental annual "appearance fee" to the first 20 teams that present themselves for all 20 races of the CART FedEx Championship Series. Additional "in kind" and cash incentive benefits will be provided to the teams based upon their commitment to the series. The series will run the Cosworth XF engines for the next two seasons, however, management has already begun planning for 2005 and beyond.
"Over the next six months, our engineers will visit with seven of the world's leading automobile manufacturers, including the Ford Motor Company, in order to understand exactly their expectations as a result of their involvement with our series," said CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. "At the end of the day, that involvement must lead to their being able to sell automobiles through their dealers. We want to hear from those manufacturers what is the best situation for them, recognizing that they see what a great marketing platform this series can be for them. We'll get their input and will arrive at the right engine decision. We will then invite those manufacturers to sign up with us to commence with the 2005 season. In 2004, we'll start discussions about how we integrate the marketing programs for 2005 going forward. This is not just a stop gap. This is a very clear-cut decision by management to demonstrate to the invited automobile manufacturers the value of a relationship with Championship Auto Racing Teams. I'd like to equate it to, if there's a racing car team that has lost its track and is not getting good times, what it's doing, it's running confused, what they do is they go back to basics, they go back to a base platform and then they start again."
The benefits of the engine program will provide new value to those that participate in the series, allowing teams to offer greater reward to sponsors at a reduced cost, and will also allow teams to pursue growth that had been unavailable to them previously. The value is increased even more when it is partnered with the continuation of the current chassis through next season, allowing teams to save the funds that they would have spent on new chassis for 2003.
"Selfishly, the incentives they're giving the teams, whether it be a small or a big team, for us obviously it's a great relief not to have to pay a large amount of money for engines," Wiggins said. "Some teams are going to have to pay money where they've had free engines in the past. But now they've made it such a platform that for the big teams, the money isn't going to be a huge expense."
The move has been heralded by not only the current generation of CART teams, drivers and fans, but also the generations of the recent past that want to see the CART FedEx Championship Series retain its unique and valued status in the racing world.
"I think the new package, the new way that CART is going to go now, back to the Cosworth engine is very positive," said former CART and Formula One champion Emerson Fittipaldi. "My experience with Cosworth, going back to the Formula 1, and then in the 1980s as a driver, was the most balanced racing that I ever experienced, and that's going to happen the next two years here. We are going to have the best quality of racing. The racing fans are going to enjoy CART more because the cars will be more even. The drivers' talent is going to make the whole difference. I think it will be a great show. I definitely believe that Chris understands this business and is clearly on the right track to take CART to a new level of automobile racing."
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the CART FedEx Championship Series. Former series champions Michael Andretti and Jimmy Vasser are among the stars who will battle for the 2002 FedEx Championship Series title on ovals, temporary street circuits and permanent road courses. CART Champ Cars are thoroughbred racing machines that travel at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, showcasing the technical expertise of manufacturers such as American Honda, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Lola Cars, Reynard Motorsport and Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC. The 20-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.