Date: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 06:51:32 -0300 Official Release Rio de Janeiro (05/08/98) - Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet announced here, today, they are taking over the administrative control of the "Autodromo de JacarepaguÃ¡", and confirmed ...
Date: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 06:51:32 -0300
Rio de Janeiro (05/08/98) - Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet announced here, today, they are taking over the administrative control of the "Autodromo de Jacarepaguá", and confirmed plans to bring F1 back to Rio as well as keeping the only South-American round of the FedEx Championship, the Rio 400. The two drivers - who, together, won five F1 World Championship tittles in 72, 74, 81, 83 and 86 -, will work together alongside fellow Brazilian and former racing driver Paulo Judice. They also confirmed an investment of US$ 4.2 million over the next two years as a first step to modernise and enlarge the current facilities. The announcement happened today at the Rio circuit in a ceremony conducted by Rio's Mayor, Luiz Paulo Conde, and the city's sports secretary, José Moraes.
In order to win the administrative control in a public bid, Fittipaldi, Piquet and Judice formed a new company, PPE, who has already conducted a major feasibility study concerning different ways of exploring the circuit. The three partners are decided to adopt international standards as far as motor racing management is concerned, as explains Fittipaldi: "All over the world motor sports has reached organisational and marketing levels higher than any other sport. We aim to follow it and help to start a new era on the national scene."
Nelson Piquet, who has recently established himself as a race promoter through kart and the Espron-BMW racing series, goes further by paying tribute to the importance of club racing to generate new international drivers: "Without club racing the sport can't survive as no new drivers will appear. We aim to promote local races and promote the circuit activities upon the international appeal of Rio de Janeiro. Eventually. We want to establish Jacarepaguá as motor sports centre of international level."
So far PPE has secured US$ 4.2 million to finance a two year programme that includes a new permanent kart circuit and a hospitality area, plus, at a second stage, a museum, shopping centre, new parking facilities and a leisure centre. The most audacious plan, however, concerns the Rio 400 race. Emerson Fittipaldi, whom the Rio's oval is named after, explains: "In order to avoid the competition of the beach we want to promote the Rio 400, as many other national and international events, in the evening. We are already studying a proposal from an American company who installed lighting systems in many ovals. The idea goes further: we want to make the Rio 400 prize-giving ceremony a big, open party at the Ipanema beach. It would be a party to go until dawn...
Fittipaldi, Piquet and Judice obviously have eyes on F1 and during today's announcement Piquet mentioned that "the contract with Interlagos is renewed on annual basis and if F-1 does not get what it want from Interlagos we could have a chance." He would not confirm plans to apply for a South American or Mercosul Grand Prix, following the examples of the San Marino and Luxembourg races that are, in effect, a second Grand Prix in Italy and Germany, respectively. In order to keep the project going, Fittipaldi, Piquet and Judice are already negotiating an injection of extra US$ 20 million from private investors. This will help to build a shorter circuit layout by adding a "U turn" corner at the end of the main straight, what will allow for a closer and more interesting racing at lower fixed costs. Other points of the plan unveiled today includes a polytechnic school for motor sports related activities and the use of the circuit for different sports, such as motorcycling, cycling and running.