CHAMPCAR/CART: CART hosts business seminar in Denver

CART hosts business leaders in B2B seminar in conjunction with Shell Grand Prix of Denver. DENVER (August 31, 2002) - A mix of local, national and international business decision-makers participated in a B2B seminar on the benefits of CART...

CART hosts business leaders in B2B seminar in conjunction with Shell Grand Prix of Denver.

DENVER (August 31, 2002) - A mix of local, national and international business decision-makers participated in a B2B seminar on the benefits of CART racing prior to the start of this weekend's Shell Grand Prix of Denver.

The meeting - organized by CART and presented by Bear Stearns - was comprised of introductory remarks by CART President and CEO Chris Pook, brief presentations by select sponsors currently involved in with Championship Auto Racing Teams as well as the promoters of the Shell Grand Prix of Denver, a panel discussion and a question-and-answer session. The purpose was to present the benefits of sponsor involvement in the world's most competitive racing series and to showcase Denver as a prime market for CART. It was the second such session for CART this year, the first being held in conjunction with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.

"CART is a sanctioning body as well as a marketing and sales company that creates an environment where companies can invest in our product and get a return on their investment," Pook the crowd of approximately 50 businessmen, which represented a corporate spectrum ranging from local businessmen to executives from national and international companies. "We go to top markets and offer a quality product. As far as Denver goes, it is an under-served market for motorsports and we can bring the Denver market to sponsors."

Representatives of three sponsors heavily involved in CART gave specific examples of how they utilize their sponsorships and explained some of the benefits it brings to their respective companies. Ed Sachs, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Pioneer USA; Guillermo Fernandez, Director of Marketing for Escuderia Telmex; and Bob Graham, Manager, Motorsports Sponsorships, for Shell Oil Products all spoke of their experiences with the series while John Frew, Vice President and General Manager of the Shell Grand Prix of Denver and Jim Michaelian, President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, spoke about promoter benefits.

Pioneer, which will entertain more than 1,000 people at the track this weekend in addition to hosting a concert by the band Train on Saturday, has leveraged its CART involvement into direct sales returns. According to Sachs, Pioneer has realized a 67 percent increase in brand awareness in the paddock, a two-percent increase nationwide and has experienced direct sales increases in race markets during and immediately after a CART event. Hosting sales representatives and distributors is a key element in Pioneer's marketing strategy because, as Sachs said, "People get excited by coming to CART races and excited sales people become excited to sell your products." Pioneer USA is involved with Mo Nunn Racing and driver Tony Kanaan as is Walker Racing with driver Tora Takagi.

Graham, of Denver title sponsor Shell, said the company jumped at the chance to put its name to this race because it will be entering the market in the next few months.

"We will be on banners, on planes flying overhead, in the Expo and just about everywhere you look this weekend," Graham said. "Every race attendee who comes to the track on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will know that Shell is coming to Denver." Shell is also in its 10th consecutive year as a sponsor for Team Rahal, and serves as the primary sponsor for the #8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for driver Jimmy Vasser.

Telmex, the largest communications company in Mexico, uses its association with Adrian Fernandez and Fernandez Racing for PR, advertising and marketing to the Mexican market. Telmex's Guillermo Fernandez said his company has received five times its return on investment in media exposure, has developed brand positioning between technology and speed and has been able to take advantage of the fact that auto racing is the fastest-growing sport in the country. "CART is one of the most successful and widely broadcast events in Mexico," Fernandez said.

For the promoters, street races provide unique opportunities to attract sponsors because programs can be developed to meet specific requirements. They are not bound by facilities that limit what kinds of amenities that a promoters wants to offer to potential sponsors.

"If a company wants to entertain 1,000 or more people, we can build an area just for them," Michaelian said. "Events such as the Shell Grand Prix of Denver and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach enable sponsors many opportunities to promote their products and services. We have the unique ability to tailor our services to meet companies' different needs."

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the CART FedEx Championship Series. Current points leader Cristiano da Matta, along with former series champions Michael Andretti and Jimmy Vasser, are among the stars battling for the 2002 FedEx Championship Series title with championship-winning teams such as Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Newman/Haas Racing, Patrick Racing and Team KOOL Green. CART Champ Cars are thoroughbred racing machines that reach speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, showcasing the technical expertise of manufacturers such as Ford Motor Company, Lola Cars, Reynard Motorsport and Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC. The 19-race 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series will be broadcast by new television partners, CBS, FOX and SPEED Channel. CART also owns and operates its top development series, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.cart.com.

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About this article
Series Automotive , IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Tony Kanaan , Chris Pook , Jim Michaelian , Chip Ganassi , Cristiano da Matta , Mo Nunn
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing