Infineon Raceway, SONOMA, Calif. / PRI Show, INDIANAPOLIS -- (December 5, 2003) -- Jim Russell Racing Drivers School today announced a multi-year deal with the SCCA Pro Racing Ltd. to sanction its "arrive and drive" racing series starting with the 2004 season. The series will be titled the "SCCA Formula Russell Championship presented by Yokohama" and will be part of the many events sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing and Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) parent company, which boast nearly 65,000 members nationwide. To be eligible to compete, drivers must be Jim Russell graduates (or graduates from other qualified racing schools) or SCCA regional and national competition license holders.
"SCCA runs the most respected amateur auto racing program in the country," said Kjell Kallman, vice president and general manager of Jim Russell Racing Drivers School. "The SCCA's sanctioning of our racing program is just the first step in a series of changes and improvements that we plan to make for the Championship and those that compete in it. With the support of the SCCA and a proven tire program with Yokohama Tire Corp., we will continue to provide safe, competitive events while we build a prestigious series that satisfies the demands of the amateur and the aspiring professional alike."
The Jim Russell School was the first racing school accredited by the SCCA for competition licensing. Continuing in this tradition, Jim Russell will be the first school to provide a free, one year membership to the SCCA to each 2004 graduate of the three-day Techniques of Racing Course and Advanced Racing Course starting January 1, 2004. All SCCA members are now eligible for a 10 percent discount off all Jim Russell courses. The two organizations have also agreed to work together to look for ways to create new marketing opportunities for each company's partners and sponsors as well.
"This is a landmark partnership between SCCA/SCCA Pro Racing and Jim Russell, one that will jumpstart the aspiring race car driver's career and create a sensible path from the school to various levels of road racing," said Mitch Wright, vice president and general manager of SCCA Pro Racing. "Jim Russell training is second to none, and we're excited to be a part of its graduates' success."
SCCA is the leading sanctioning body specializing in grassroots and professional motorsports. The club also provides comprehensive racing license accreditation, enabling drivers to compete in 235 regional and 65 national races administered by the SCCA.
The SCCA Formula Russell Championship consists of ten weekend races throughout the year at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. All drivers compete in equally prepared single-seat, 150hp Formula Russell racecars, which can reach 120 mph and up to 2Gs of corning force using spec Yokohama racing slicks. There is an overall championship plus two age divisions. The overall champion receives a prize package to compete in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, while the winners of the Masters and Grand Masters championships return the following year to compete in the series for free.
"We've been marketing partners with the Jim Russell organization for a number of years, and we're very excited about this change," said Art Michalik, director of marketing communications for Yokohama Tire Corporation. "The series offers some great racing for the drivers and excellent exposure for us as a sponsor."
Recent standout drivers in the Jim Russell series include Dominique Cleassens, one of three finalists in the 2003 Red Bull Driver Search who competed in the series and trained in a Jim Russell Driver Development course. In addition, Joel Nelson and Scott Speed, two of four finalists in the 2002 Red Bull Driver Search, participated in the Formula Russell Series.
Some of racing's most respected drivers trained at Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, including Jacques Villeneuve, Jimmy Vassar, Emerson Fittipaldi and Danny Sullivan.