Montreal, Quebec, September 29, 1999 - With the legislation on sponsorship by tobacco companies about to take effect, management of the Player's Racing program has decided to put an end to the operations of the Player's Atlantic team. "It is...
Montreal, Quebec, September 29, 1999 - With the legislation on sponsorship by tobacco companies about to take effect, management of the Player's Racing program has decided to put an end to the operations of the Player's Atlantic team.
"It is with deep regret that we are announcing the withdrawal of our team in the Atlantic series," stated Mark Thorne, Communications/Marketing Director at Player's. "We didn't want to find ourselves in a situation where we would have to pull out our entire program all at once when the law comes into effect. That's why we want to proceed gradually to lessen the impact.
"The Atlantic team was certainly one of the jewels of the Player's Racing program, and the team's popularity with Canadian racing fans has always been a great source of pride for the drivers and their crews."
While the Player's Atlantic team is being disbanded, Player's is adamant about its commitment to the success of its CART operations.
"Obviously, the disbanding of the Atlantic team saddens everyone involved, but it will allow us to dedicate ourselves fully to the Player's CART Team and put all the resources at our disposal to bring it back to a competitive level where we can again contend for the championship," added Thorne.
The Player's Atlantic team has been a force since its inception in 1993 - when it had Jacques Villeneuve and Claude Bourbonnais as drivers - winning 12 of the 15 races in its first season. Following a three-year absence, the Player's Atlantic team was revived in 1997 and garnered four wins with teammates Bertrand Godin and Alexandre Tagliani before capturing its first championship in 1998 with driver Lee Bentham.
The law on sponsorship by tobacco companies, which is scheduled to come into effect on October 1, 2000, will gradually impose significant restrictions on the use of signage and, as of the fall of 2003, will ban all forms of sponsorship of sports and cultural events by tobacco companies.