ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--Champion Audi, a division of sportscar racing stalwart Champion Motors, has entered 1999 Speedvision Touring Car Champion Michael Galati and five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell for the 2000 Speedvision World Challenge GT ...
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--Champion Audi, a division of sportscar racing stalwart Champion Motors, has entered 1999 Speedvision Touring Car Champion Michael Galati and five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell for the 2000 Speedvision World Challenge GT Championship. Both drivers will pilot the all-new Audi S4 Competition.
"I can't really put into words how exciting this is," said Galati, of North Olmstead, Ohio, who tied a Speedvision World Challenge record with four-consecutive wins in the 1999 season. "I'm definitely excited to move up, and it's a good opportunity to be associated with a team like Champion and a manufacturer like Audi. It's rewarding to have people taking notice of my driving and give me this opportunity. I can't wait to sit down in one of these cars and drive it."
Galati, who has won three of the last four Speedvision Touring Car titles in Acura Integra Type Rs, will drive the No. 9 Champion Audi S4 Competition.
Bell, of Pagham, England, will pilot the No. 8 Legends of Motorsports/Champion Audi team car. The five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans, three-time Rolex 24 At Daytona and two-time FIA Sports Car World Champion will again serve as Speedvision's main in-car commentator for Speedvision GT events, and, unlike 1999, will run for the Championship in 2000, with all earnings going to charity.
"I'm a very fortunate person to be doing this," said Bell, who drove the Speedvision Legend of Motorsports BMW in 1999. "To have a major manufacturer like Audi getting involved is important, and I think we'll see more of it in years to come. I've run with Champion in Porsches in the past and know they do a tremendous job.
"My running for points this year is better for everyone in the series," added Bell. "Last year, I didn't run for points and it wasn't all that fair for other drivers because I was involved in their race. Running for points eliminates that, and gives me a bigger incentive to go for the Championship. Since Speedvision is the sponsor of the car, it wouldn't be right to take the purse money, so we're going to donate it to a local charity."
"We're excited to have Champion Motors enter the Speedvision World Challenge," said Mitch Wright, Speedvision World Challenge General Manager. "Working together with Audi, we're sure the team will provide Michael Galati and Derek Bell great vehicles to add to the Speedvision World Challenge excitement. We're also thrilled to have Derek back as an in-car commentator. His insight and humor behind the wheel are a great addition to the race broadcasts."
The all-new Audi S4 Competition will feature all-wheel drive and a 2.7 liter, twin-turbo V6. More information on Audi's World Challenge commitment will be announced in the coming weeks.
"We're thrilled to be working with Audi, Michael and Derek for the 2000 World Challenge season," said Don Skuta, Champion Audi V.P. of Business Development. "Most of our racing experience has been with Porsches in endurance racing, so we're excited about the challenges the Speedvision GT and its sprint racing format offers."
Champion Motors has long been a standout in North American endurance racing, most recently winning the 1998 USRRC GT1 Championship with driver Thierry Boutsen. In addition to the Speedvision World Challenge, Champion plans to campaign a Porsche-powered Lola in the 2000 American Le Mans Series.