Fran-Am 1600 concludes first season with best racing action of the year.
(24/11/2002) Phoenix, Arizona -- Observers of the final Fran-Am 1600 West Coast Championship series race of the season called it the best of the year.
In front of several very special guests including Mr. Normand Legault, President & CEO of Grand Prix du Canada, Mr. Jean Paul Blais President and COO of GPC Formule 1, Mr. Richard Prieur President and COO of Cite Communications Inc. and Mr. Gerald deBar of Switzerland and two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona and newly crowned Grand Am 2002 Champion Didier Theys, Fran-Am competitors continued to display the thrills and excitement that have hallmarked a highly successful inaugural year.
The race was highlighted by several race lead swaps between pole sitter Michael McDowell and series champion Tim Barber. Spectators and teams had an easy way to gauge McDowell's progress as his 50 or so friends and family put up a cheer for their hometown favorite every time he made a move.
Barber was relentless in his pursuit of McDowell, keeping his Conversion Techniques Motorsports entry right on the tail of the World Speed Motorsports car through every turn. When the checkered flag flew, however, it was Phoenix-native McDowell who stood on the top step of the podium for the second time with Barber finishing in second place, just 0.982 seconds behind McDowell. John Knudsen of Ontario, California rounded out the top three with his second podium finish of the weekend.
The Fran-Am 1600 Regional Championship series is the first step on Fran-Am Sport's Driver Development Ladder, with drivers eventually making the jump to race in the Fran-Am 2000 Series. Each Fran-Am 1600 event features a $7000US prize fund with the overall series champion winning a brand-new Fran-Am 2000 car ready to race the next season.
The Fran-Am 1600 race car features a spec-Tatuus carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, sealed 1.6-liter/123-horsepower motor (capable of running an entire season without a rebuild), 5-speed sequential gearbox, and spec-Michelin Sport racing tires.