MIAMI (October 4, 2002) - In a move intended to show South Florida business entities where the value lies in starting relationships with the CART FedEx Championship Series, CART and the American Le Mans Series held a business-to-business forum in...
MIAMI (October 4, 2002) - In a move intended to show South Florida business entities where the value lies in starting relationships with the CART FedEx Championship Series, CART and the American Le Mans Series held a business-to-business forum in conjunction with the Grand Prix Americas on Thursday afternoon.
Business representatives from throughout South Florida attended Thursday's forum, co-hosted by Bear Stearns at the Miami City Club, and heard presentations from CART's only owner/driver Adrian Fernandez, Audi Sport North America Manager Rod Bymaster, McFarland Group President Michael McFarland and CART CEO and President Chris Pook. The formal presentations gave forum attendees a chance to hear their stories of how they got involved with Championship Auto Racing Teams and the ALMS, and the successes that they have had through their sponsor relationships.
"It has really worked for us," said McFarland, who represented heavy equipment manufacturer Gehl. "We have been treated in a first-class manner all the way. The opportunities, with CART with the access to everything and the treatment from CART, are like having a skybox at a football stadium, but instead of having it for a few hours, we have it for two or three days."
Pook addressed the changing philosophy of the series, a philosophy that sees CART putting as much effort into the business side of the series as it does with the on-track product.
"Our focus is toward creating an environment where the companies that involve themselves with CART teams, tracks or the series itself, can get a strong return on their investment," Pook said. "We see that as our responsibility."
Following the formal presentation, a round-table discussion took place with Pook, McFarland and Bymeister, along with ALMS President and COO Scott Atherton where forum attendees were able to poll the panelists about what lies ahead with CART, ALMS and the Grand Prix Americas. The panelists ranged from prospective sponsors to future drivers in the series, each of whom were able to learn about relationships in racing from a number of different perspectives.
"Sponsorship, when applied properly, can work for everyone," Atherton said. "What it does is, locks out your competition for the time that people are at the racetrack. You have a captive audience and it cuts through all the confusion that faces customers in the marketplace."
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the CART FedEx Championship Series. Current points leader Cristiano da Matta leads the stars battling for the 2002 FedEx Championship Series title with teams such as Player's/Forsythe Racing, Newman/Haas Racing, Patrick Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing. 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.