CHAMPCAR/CART: Hispanic marketing initiatives announced

INDIANAPOLIS (July 16, 2002) - Responding not only to the recent influx of drivers and teams from Mexico that are having success in the CART FedEx Championship Series, but also to the businesses and huge crowds that surround the CART events in ...

INDIANAPOLIS (July 16, 2002) - Responding not only to the recent influx of drivers and teams from Mexico that are having success in the CART FedEx Championship Series, but also to the businesses and huge crowds that surround the CART events in Mexico, Championship Auto Racing Teams announced its Hispanic Marketing Initiatives over the weekend in Cleveland.

The series revealed its plan to teams, sponsors and manufacturers on Sunday, laying out a three-pronged approach that is meant to help existing teams and partners within the Hispanic community as well as to attract new companies to CART.

"Since the arrival of Adrian Fernandez in our series way back in the Indy Lights, he has led the charge of the Spanish-speaking people from Mexico and the U.S. to our series," CART CEO and President Christopher R. Pook said. "The intensity of the interest of the Hispanic community in our series has grown and has become a powerful economic force that we have to address."

CART is creating a Hispanic Marketing Initiative for both Mexican- and U.S.-based companies, with marketing executives from companies that focus on the Hispanic market giving input to CART on how to capitalize on the growing interest. CART will schedule and moderate the groups, helping the companies organize promotional efforts within the series. The initiative is designed to aid not only companies that are heavily involved in the Hispanic sector, but also those that would like to expand their reach into Hispanic markets both in and out of the United States.

"As a team enjoying primary sponsorship from Grupo Herdez and supported by some of Mexico's leading companies such as Corona Extra, Del Valle, Vitro and Televisa, we welcome CART's initiative in recognizing the importance of Mexico in the world market," said Herdez Competition Business Director Kevin Lee. "CART is being proactive in supporting teams and their sponsors. Herdez Competition looks forward to playing a role in this latest initiative that highlights that the Hispanic population is the fastest growing segment in virtually every market in which we compete."

Pook also announced the formation of a new CART Hispanic News Bureau, which will reproduce all of CART's news releases for the Spanish-speaking community. The new bureau will also target the major Hispanic newspapers of North America as well as the mainstream sports media outlets of Mexico.

CART will also focus some of its energies towards its Spanish language television broadcasts as it looks to increase its live presence in the Hispanic markets. The series already receives Spanish-language coverage from TV Azteca in Mexico and is working on a plan to release all of its VNR highlight tapes in both English and Spanish. The CART FedEx Championship Series currently runs two of its races in Mexico, the season opener in Monterrey and the inaugural Mexico Gran Premio 2002 in Mexico City on November 17.

"I think it is a very good idea to cover the Hispanic market, and a very good opportunity for CART and for all of the sponsors," said Quaker State Mexico Special Projects Director Arturo Romero. "American corporations are looking at the Hispanic market. A lot of companies -- big corporations and small corporations -- make commercials in Spanish. I like the idea to invite Hispanic journalists to attend the races, and to have the website and press releases in both English and Spanish. With this, we are on the way to increasing the visibility of this series."

Three Mexican drivers currently compete in the CART FedEx Championship Series, all with primary sponsorship from Hispanic companies including Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone), Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). Drivers such as Rodolfo Lavin, Luis Diaz and Waldemar Coronas are among those that are trying to get to the Champ Car ranks this season by competing in the CART Toyota Atlantic Series.

"It is a great opportunity to expand our series into the Hispanic market, which has been forgotten for quite awhile," said owner/driver Fernandez. "We have a lot of fans here in America and I think we have a great team of Mexican drivers that can attract some new fans and reclaim fans that have been left behind. It is good that we are taking care of them."

-cart-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Luis Diaz , Mario Dominguez , Rodolfo Lavin , Waldemar Coronas , Michel Jourdain