St. Petersburg to host Winter championship finale

Fran-Am 2000 Winter World Championship final round to be run at inaugural Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Fran-Am 2000 feature up-and-coming drivers from U.S. Canada and around the world. ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2002) - The Grand Prix of ...

Fran-Am 2000 Winter World Championship final round to be run at inaugural Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Fran-Am 2000 feature up-and-coming drivers from U.S. Canada and around the world.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2002) - The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg announced today that the finale of next year's Fran-Am 2000 Winter World Championship will be contested during its race weekend, Feb. 21-23, 2003, as a support race to the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) Series event.

The Fran-Am 2000 Winter Series sponsored by Michelin International, in the weeks prior to the St. Petersburg event, will race in Florida at Sebring International Raceway and Homestead Raceway. In 2002, the Fran-Am Michelin 2000 Series ran with CART at the Molson Indy Montreal and Molson Indy Vancouver.

"We are proud to be part of the inaugural Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. We couldn't hope for a better setting for the conclusion of our five-round first winter championship. We are convinced that spectators will greatly appreciate our fiery young talents, " said Fran-Am President and CEO Thierry Burckhart. "Fran-Am is very serious about developing new American racers and we are doing everything we can to make easy, affordable and to provide the right rewards and incentives."

The open-wheel Fran-Am Michelin 2000 championship is a cousin of the renowned Formula Renault program and its 17 championships in 20 countries from Europe, South-America and Asia. The Fran-Am 2000 chassis is manufactured in the same ATR facility that makes Ferrari's Formula One chassis. The powerplant is a sealed 2.0-liter, 186-horsepower fuel-injected engine capable of running an entire season without a rebuild.

"These cars add an exciting element to our Grand Prix of St. Petersburg event," said Tom Begley, general manager of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. "Fran-Am 2000 drivers shared the track with CART in Vancouver and Montreal last summer. They will add a new dimension to what is sure to be an exciting and competitive race weekend."

Formula Renault is internationally recognized as a premier training ground for those who aspire to reach the pinnacle of open-wheels road racing. Dating back to 1971, drivers such as Alain Prost, Jacques Laffitte and Olivier Panis have graduated from its ranks. McLaren's team young sensation Kimi Raïkkonen went straight from Formula Renault to F1 after winning the 2000 British championship. Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia, recently hired by Jaguar's F1 team, is another Formula Renault graduate.

"Our sport is constantly looking for future road racing talent," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, which is managing the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. "This program has certainly had a colorful history of showcasing prodigies in the past. Hopefully we will witness future stars of racing during the inaugural Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend."

The Fran-Am 2000 race is expected to run on Sunday, Feb. 23, with qualifying to take place on Saturday, Feb. 22. For information on the Fran- Am series, visit www.fran-am.com.

Other Grand Prix of St. Petersburg support races will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets for the 2003 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg are on sale now by calling 1-888-34-SPEED or by visiting the Web site at www.gpstpete.com. For more information on group tickets, sponsorship or hospitality club packages please call (727) 894-7749.

The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is set to take place February 21-23, 2003 in downtown St. Petersburg on a 1.78-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit that encompasses the Bayfront Center, Bay Shore Drive and part of the Albert Whitted Airport. Ticket prices for the three-day event range from $35 for a Sunday-only General Admission ticket to $105 for a three-day ticket that includes Friday, Saturday and Sunday Reserved Seating in upper levels of the grandstands. Handicapped seating, hospitality club packages and CART Paddock Passes are also available. Tickets for the 2003 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg are on sale now by calling 1-888-34-SPEED or by visiting the Web site at: www.gpstpete.com. For more information on group tickets, sponsorship or hospitality club packages, please call (727) 894-7749.

Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, Inc. is a subsidiary of Dover Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE: DVD), a leading promoter of motorsports events in the United States. The Company owns and operates Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del.; Nashville Superspeedway near Nashville, Tenn.; Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, Mo., and Memphis Motorsports Park near Memphis, Tenn.; organizes and promotes the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California, and Shell Grand Prix of Denver in Colorado. The Company has also entered into agreements with the City of St. Petersburg in Florida and with CART to organize and promote the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The inaugural event will be held in February 2003.

-GPSP-

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Series OPENWHEEL