DETROIT (October 9, 2000) - Championship Auto Racing Teams and Sports International Marketing, the organizers of the Rio 200, today announced that the Brazilian round of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series, has been moved to March 25. In ...
DETROIT (October 9, 2000) - Championship Auto Racing Teams and Sports International Marketing, the organizers of the Rio 200, today announced that the Brazilian round of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series, has been moved to March 25.
In addition to the date change, CART officials confirmed that the race will be conducted for the first time on the road circuit at the Nelson Piquet International Raceway, located on the south side of Rio de Janeiro. CART first raced on the 1.864-mile Brazilian oval in 1996 and each of the subsequent four events has been conducted on the Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway oval circuit, which is named after the former CART and Formula One driving champion and current promoter of CART's Brazilian event.
When CART announced its 2001 Champ Car schedule in early August, the Rio 200 was tentatively listed as the opening event on February 11. This change makes the Rio event the second race of the season, with the 22-race campaign now set to begin March 11 with CART's first appearance on the Fundidora Park circuit in Monterrey, Mexico.
"While both CART and the Rio 200 were ready to run the race on the date we originally announced, it was a compromise," said Hal Whiteford, CART's president of racing operations. "This change closes a month-long gap in our schedule and helps the flow of our races during the early part of the year. It also enhances our television package, both in the U.S. and Brazil. We are pleased it has worked out and want to thank Emerson Fittipaldi and his team in Rio for working closely with us to make this happen.
"This change to the road circuit enables us to clearly demonstrate the diversity and versatility of Champ Car racing. The road course will provide a spectacular venue, both for local fans and the millions who watch our races on television throughout the world."
Fittipaldi, the 1989 Champ Car champion who is fifth on the all-time CART victories list with 22 wins, is pleased with both the date change and the move to the road circuit.
"These changes give us a fresh opportunity to serve our fans and we are very pleased to have been able to work this out with CART," said the two-time Formula One World Champion. "We have made great strides in growing our event the past two years and these developments will help us to continue to build Champ Car racing in Brazil and worldwide."