Lansing, MI - Three-time Trans-Am Series Drivers' Champion Paul Gentilozzi unveiled plans today to expand his racing program into the open wheel arena. Gentilozzi's Rocketsports Racing team will campaign a one-car effort in the entire 2003 CART Champ Car Series Presented by Bridgestone season. No driver has yet been named nor has a chassis selection been announced.
Rocketsports Racing, based in Lansing, Michigan, has traditionally built, prepared, and campaigned championship production-based sedans in a variety of series including the Trans-Am Series, the former IMSA Series - GTS class, and the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Current plans call for Rocketsports Racing to run a select multi-car customer program in the 2003 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup in addition to the Champ Car program. Gentilozzi, who drove the No.3 Johnson Controls Jaguar XKR in 2002, will not seek a fourth drivers' title in the Trans-Am Series but will likely compete in a few races.
"The CART Series is the ultimate form of competition in road racing, and competition is what it's all about," said Gentilozzi. "You can be in motorsports as either a participant or as a competitor, and we've always been competitors. I realize we've got a steep learning curve, but we've assembled the right people with the right work ethic and I believe we can get the job done."
Although Gentilozzi seriously considered running an IRL program, he ultimately selected the CART Series. "The business-to-business relationship, particularly as it relates to industrial suppliers, is more effective right now in the CART Series," explained Gentilozzi. "This is a business and I have to run it as a business to make it work. It's still our dream to race in the Indy 500 as a team, but it's just not our business reality today."
"Paul Gentilozzi and Rocketsports have set the standard for road racing excellence for decades in the Trans-Am Series and we are honored to have this proven championship-winning team and driver join us for the 2003 CART Champ Car Series," said Christopher R. Pook, CART President & CEO. "As Paul and everyone begin another chapter in their illustrious history, I and everyone at CART will do all they can to ensure that their decision to race in CART provides an outstanding return on the investment. We look forward to a mutually successful relationship for years to come."
Gentilozzi has established reasonable objectives for his first year effort. "I'm not expecting multiple race wins or a championship run," he said. "But I do expect to go to every race ready and prepared to be competitive.
"We'll continue to improve as we develop more knowledge and jell as a team," Gentilozzi added. "We'll have two seasons to learn the system. By 2005, it will be a new experience for everyone with the new chassis/engine program, and we'll be ready."
Rocketsports Racing has prepared cars for some of road racing's most accomplished drivers. Among the notables are Scott Pruett, Tom Kendall, Dorsey Schroeder, Brian Simo, Chris Kniefel, Johnny Miller, Darin Brassfield, Jack Baldwin, and Price Cobb. Celebrity drivers have included Paul Newman, Craig T. Nelson, and Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner.