Indianapolis, IN -- PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin has been formally announced as the Chairman of the Championship Drivers Association for a two-year term.

One of the FedEx Championship Series' most experienced and fastest drivers, Gugelmin was formerly the senior driver on the CDA's board of directors and becomes the first international competitor to be nominated as Chairman of the organization.

Gugelmin replaces Scott Pruett as the Chairman of the CDA, Jimmy Vasser joins the board of directors after being part of the safety and licensing steering committee and Scott Goodyear remains as Vice-Chairman for IRL affairs.

"I see the CDA as a very important part of what we all do and I look forward to carrying out my duties to the best of my ability," said Gugelmin. "There are always on-going issues in the sport and it is important that the drivers do have a voice, especially when it comes to safety concerns."

The Championship Drivers Association was developed in 1980 with the purpose of giving drivers a unified voice with governing bodies, promoters and the public -- particularly in the area of safety.

It is designed for those drivers pursuing a career driving "Indy type" cars and represents competitors who are part of the FedEx Championship Series (CART) and the Indy Racing League (IRL). Under the bylaws of the organization, the CDA can have no voice in any dispute between racing organizations and governing bodies.

Encompassed with the CDA is the Championship Drivers Association Benevolent Fund which is designed to help a driver's family go on with their lives in the event of a tragedy. Further, the fund responds to the needs of a driver who may be forced into retirement due to injury or to begin a new career, according to CDA Executive Director, Jon Potter.

"Mauricio brings a business mind, experience and valuable common sense to the position of Chairman," said Potter. "He has a great amount of respect from all the drivers and knows what this business is about."

Gugelmin had his first oval test in his new Reynard 2KI chassis at Phoenix yesterday and will continue preparations with PacWest Racing tomorrow across town on the Firebird East road course.