CHAMPCAR/CART: Zolder: Pre-race notes, schedule

FAST FACTS WHAT: Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix WHERE: Circuit Zolder, Heusden-Zolder, Belgium WHEN: Friday--Sunday, August 24-26 SUPPORT EVENTS: ADAC GT3 Masters, Benelux Racing League V8 and 2007 EuroBOSS Series. CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All...

FAST FACTS

WHAT: Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix

WHERE: Circuit Zolder, Heusden-Zolder, Belgium

WHEN: Friday--Sunday, August 24-26

SUPPORT EVENTS: ADAC GT3 Masters, Benelux Racing League V8 and 2007 EuroBOSS Series.

CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, AUGUST 24
10:40 -- 11:55 a.m. Champ Car practice
02:30 -- 03:30 p.m. Champ Car qualifying

SATURDAY, AUGUST 25
10:40 -- 11:55 a.m. Champ Car practice
02:30 -- 03:30 p.m. Champ Car qualifying

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26
10:30 -- 11:00 a.m. Champ Car warmup
02:00 p.m. Start of BELGIAN CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE (Eastern Time):

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26
Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix, ESPN Classic, 8:00 a.m. (Live)

MONDAY, AUGUST 27
Replay, ESPN 2, 2:00 a.m.

TRACK LAYOUT: 2.622-mile permanent road course

RACE LENGTH: One hour and forty-five minutes

TRACK RECORDS: TBD

RACE ROUND: Round eleven of sixteen in the Champ Car World Series

NOTEWORTHY

Champ Car may have not ran at the Circuit Zolder before, but that does not mean that Champ Car drivers have not raced and won on the course. Four time Champ Car Champion Mario Andretti won in Zolder in 1978 in a Lotus Ford during his stint in Formula 1, which was the same year that he won the World Championship.

Champ Car has raced on European tracks a total of seven times throughout its history: Silverstone, England (1978) , Brands Hatch, England (1978 and 2003), Lausitz, Germany (2001 and 2003), and Rockingham, England (2001 and 2002). This weekend will be the first time the series has raced in Belgium.

The first Champ Car race to be held in Europe was in 1978 on a rainy day in Silverstone, England with sixteen cars in the field. Danny Ongias won the pole for the event and led the first four laps, but fell out of contention due to a broken half shaft. Other Champ Car legends like Al Unser, Bobby Unser, Gordon Johncock and Rick Mears would lead the event, but the weather reeked havoc on the event. The race was slowed by several yellow and red flag periods due to rain, but after a dismal start in the tenth position A.J. Foyt would lead the final seven laps to reach Victory Lane.

So far this season nine drivers have made their way to podium finishes in the Champ Car World Series. Three of those have been Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year candidates (Robert Doornbos, Neel Jani and Graham Rahal). Six of them have been from Europe (Sebastien Bourdais, Dan Clarke, Robert Doornbos, Neel Jani, Oriol Servia, and Justin Wilson).

Rookie competitor Robert Doornbos has logged more laps than any other driver in the Champ Car World Series and is the only driver who has been running at the end of every event. Out of the 822 laps that have been run this season, the Dutchman has completed 812 of those. Fellow rookie Simon Pagenaud is second on this list recording 795 laps. The rest of the top five in completed laps include: Neel Jani (783), Alex Tagliani (769) and Will Power (766).

By winning his 29th career pole position in Road America Sebastien Bourdais is currently sixth on the all time career pole position list. The only drivers that are ahead of him on the list are Michael Andretti (32), Rick Mears (40), Bobby Unser (49), A.J. Foyt (53), and Mario Andretti (67).

Sebastien Bourdais recorded his 28th career win at Road America, which places him in ninth on the all time race winner roster. In all of those in the top ten the Frenchman has less than half of their starts at 69, meaning he has won 40% of the races he has entered in Champ Car competition. As for podium finishes he currently has 41 which translates into him finishing on the podium in nearly 60% of his Champ Car starts.

DID YOU KNOW?

In the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, the Omloop Terlamen is situated close to the village of Zolder where the track was first conceived and built. Today the Zolder track hosts a variety of events including a round of the World Series by Renault championship, as well as the national GT Belcar championship, including the Euphony 24 Hours of Zolder, and many more. The track in Zolder was built in the early sixties, and opened in 1965. The first major international event was the Limbourg Grand Prix for Formula 2 cars in 1966, won by Jack Brabham, whose sons Gerry and Geoff both competed in Champ Car in the 1990s. Zolder hosted the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix on 10 separate occasions throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Unfortunately, Zolder will always be remembered, as the place where Gilles Villeneuve died, when on a flying lap in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix of 1982. Even today there is a monument to Villeneuve at the top of the pit lane and, at most races, if you make your way out to the corner they now call Villeneuve, you will see flowers placed beside the track. Major changes were made at Zolder in 1986 including the new Villeneuve chicane, the reprofiling of many of the corners, extra curbs and concrete barriers. In the beginning of 2006, the twelve turn course underwent some adaptations to increase safety preparing for Champ Car's first voyage into the country of Belgium.

BY THE NUMBERS

169 -- How many laps Sebastien Bourdais has led during European events.
11 -- How many Champ Car drivers call Europe home.
11 -- How many points separate fifth from ninth in the point standings.
6 -- Number of current Champ Car drivers that raced in the 2003 races in Europe.
5 -- Number of Champ Car races held in England.
4.6 -- The average finish for Sebastien Bourdais this season.
4 -- Times that a European driver has won in Europe (Sebastien Bourdais 2 events in 2003, Dario Franchitti 2002 and Kenny Brack 2001).
3 -- Races in Europe that have been won by less than a second.
1 -- Number of drivers that won in Europe and then went on to win the Championship (Gil de Ferran, 2001, Rockingham England).

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Alex Tagliani , Dario Franchitti , Oriol Servia , Kenny Brack , Mario Andretti , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Gilles Villeneuve , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Jack Brabham , Neel Jani , Gordon Johncock , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud , A.J. Foyt