CHAMPCAR/CART: CART Introduces News TV Ads

DETROIT (April 1, 1999) - Champ Car racing comes to life in the light-hearted manner viewers have come to expect from ESPN in a seven-commercial campaign that features actor Ricardo Montalban and begins airing Friday on the world's No.1 sports ...

DETROIT (April 1, 1999) - Champ Car racing comes to life in the light-hearted manner viewers have come to expect from ESPN in a seven-commercial campaign that features actor Ricardo Montalban and begins airing Friday on the world's No.1 sports network.

The promotional campaign behind Championship Auto Racing Teams' FedEx Championship Series is the first created in support of the 20-race series that features the world's best all-around drivers in 900-plus horsepower, open-wheel cars. Each race is broadcast in the United States on either ESPN or ABC television. The next broadcast is ESPN coverage of Round 2 of the series, the Firestone Firehawk 500 at Japan's Twin Ring Motegi, airing Friday, April 9 at midnight (9 p.m. PT).

New York City-based Air Force One created one 30-second and six 15-second promotional spots for ESPN in support of Champ Car racing.

"The campaign is in keeping with ESPN's playful approach to sports," said CART's Vice President of Broadcast Services Keith Allo. "Ricardo Montalban does a wonderful job of bringing the emotion of our sport to life, and does so in a manner that is engaging and fun. We believe this campaign will resonate with current fans of our sport as well as those who may give Champ Car racing a look for the first time."

The commercials cover several topics and utilize colorful descriptions conveyed in the passionate manner only an actor the stature of Montalban can convey. While Montalban has long been a star in television ("Fantasy Island") and films ("Star Trek II"), many people also remember him as the Chrysler spokesman who expounded in television commercials on the benefits of "rich Corinthian leather," in the company's advertising for its Cordoba model in the 1970s.

In one of the spots, Montalban speaks of the attributes of a Champ Car . "This insane machine cruises at 240 miles per hour and has a price tag of $1 million. So where, I ask you, is the rich Corinthian leather?"

In another, Montalban asks what it takes to be a pole position driver. "Passion? Courage? The confidence to be photographed in the winner's circle knowing you have helmet hair?"

Still another speaks of the "fantasy" associated with Champ Car racing. "This is a fantasy," Montalban says as he looks at the car. "It sits quietly now, like a beast waiting to pounce . . . like a libido, ready to explode."

Source: CART Online

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Series Automotive , IndyCar