Mexico's Famed Jourdian Family Claims Victory in Largest "Challenge" Field Ever RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., (November 25, 2004) When the Wide Open Baja organization set a new Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 benchmark in 2002 for fielding the...
Mexico's Famed Jourdian Family Claims Victory in Largest "Challenge" Field Ever
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., (November 25, 2004) When the Wide Open Baja organization set a new Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 benchmark in 2002 for fielding the largest single team of race finishers in history, many veteran observers believed that the feat which saw all eight Wide Open-supported cars complete the event could never be repeated. Wide Open Baja's performance that year defied the race's 35-year average for race finishers, which normally stands at just over 50 percent.
Yet the parade of Wide Open Baja "BC" Challenge cars crossing the finish line in La Paz this past weekend proved the experts wrong as all 12 of the indentically prepared, Porsche-powered, open-wheel cars arrived in the Southern Baja resort well under the 40 hour limit SCORE International had set for all official finishers. Perhaps more telling was the fact the 2004 run down the rugged peninsula was the first off-road racing experience for many within the roster of more than 70 Baja Challenge drivers.
Such was not the case, however, for event winner Michel Jourdain Jr., the wildly popular Mexican Champ Car series driver who was joined by father Michel Jourdain Sr. and uncle Berhard Jourdain in the Centrix Financial-backed BC-4 car. Mobbed by an enthusiastic and partisan crowd of Mexican locals after crossing the La Paz finish line, the Jourdains traversed the 1,016.3-mile course in a time of 20:41:28, good for an average speed of 48.99 mph. Also joined this year by Jean-Pierre Jourdain, it was the third consecutive appearance by the family in the Centrix Financial Wide Open Baja Challenge.
"I had an almost trouble free race after encountering a few problems with the front end," claimed a happy Michel. "It was very bent and we had to stop and weld it for awhile. It was an extremely fast course with much sand and silt. We had great BFG tires and had no flats over all the miles! They helped us be out in front of everyone and catch others without any problems. Most importantly, we had fun."
Now in its fifth consecutive year, the 2005 Centrix Financial Wide Open Baja Challenge presented by BFGoodrich Tires attracted an event-record 12 teams for this November's run, and continued to attract a highly diverse field of competitors drawn to its unique motorsports concept. Overall, the Ensenada starting line saw more than 300 vehicles take the green flag from SCORE officials.
The Centrix Financial Wide Open Baja Challenge is based on the preparation, leasing and support of identically Baja Challenge race cars. A truly turn-key event, the "Challenge" format provides its guests with complete vehicle preparation, entry fees, fuel, tires, driver training, SCORE licensing, hotel accommodations and exclusive hospitality at one of the world's toughest endurance competitions.
The Jourdain's victorious effort led a strong five-car Centrix Financial-backed team that claimed the next four finishing positions.1985 Indianapolis 500 winner Danny Sullivan enjoyed his first Baja 1000 experience, leading his BC-5 Team Centrix car to the runner up position, less than one hour behind the Jourdains. Newly crowned Champ Car Series champion Sebastien Bourdais also made the successful transition to the dirt, joined by drifting star Rhys Millen in the third place BC-14 entry. Centrix Financial founder and CEO Robert Sutton, who led his team to victories in the last two Baja Challenge events, was joined by Rod Millen, Jeff Zwart and noted actor and racing enthusiast Paul Newman to take fifth-place honors.
"This year's success at the SCORE Baja 1000 is the culmination of great people, great crews and many great corporate partnerships coming together for a common goal, "explained Wide Open Managing Partner Todd Clement. "Having 12 cars start in Ensenada and having 12 cars finish in La Paz is a tribute to the hard work of the Wide Open staff, the unending enthusiasm of our chase crews, the tremendous support from Centrix Financial and BFGoodrich, and the talent of our drivers. We can't wait to come back in 2003."
In its first year of a long-term partnership with Wide Open Baja, the entry of presenting sponsor BFGoodrich added both increase reliability via their race-proved tires but also vital pit and communications support all the way down the Baja peninsula.
Wide Open Adventures is actively supported by BFGoodrich, Centrix Financial, American Racing Wheels, Bilstein, SnugTop, Lowrance, PIAA, Auto Meter, Valvoline, Duralast and Eibach.
Based in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Wide Open Adventures has provided high-speed guided tours of the Baja peninsula to thousands of adventure enthusiasts since 1997, along with numerous corporate travel programs. The company has complete shop and offices facilities located in California and Ensenada, Mexico, and an adventure experience park in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.