MONTEREY, Calif. (October 13, 2001) - Championship Auto Racing Teams reinforced its commitment to extending and growing its development system today by announcing the creation of a partnership between CART and the North American Karting...
MONTEREY, Calif. (October 13, 2001) - Championship Auto Racing Teams reinforced its commitment to extending and growing its development system today by announcing the creation of a partnership between CART and the North American Karting Association, featuring an expanded 'CART Stars of Tomorrow' racing series.
The announcement was made by CART Chairman and CEO Joe Heitzler and Champ Car driver Bryan Herta, who originated the 'Stars of Tomorrow' program just one year ago.
"We are very excited about this program because it will provide additional opportunity at the introductory level of our development system," said Heitzler. "We believe this program will result in more karting participants getting involved with Champ Car racing and our Ladder System, and that is important for the growth of CART. This partnership will help create new fans for our sport while providing an expanded and well-defined career path from karting to CART for drivers whose goal is to race in Champ Cars."
The program will include six-to-eight NAKA-sanctioned races that will be conducted at CART venues during FedEx Championship Series event weekends next season. NAKA also will conduct a National Karting Championship, which will be a program of regional events leading up to the Championship event, which will be conducted at the Las Vegas Karting Center in November of 2002.
The newly announced program extends CART's existing commitments to an initial rung in its development system. CART also has a relationship with the Skip Barber Racing School, which annually awards four scholarships to aspiring drivers for a full season in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship.
"I am extremely excited about this announcement today," said Herta, an eight-year Champ Car veteran who has scored two Champ Car victories, both coming at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. "Along with my partner, Hollis Brown, we have worked very hard to create an environment that will move toward a true national championship in karting. We believe that, with the help of CART and with the sanction, management, administration and marketing by NAKA and its executive director Fred Marik, we can reach our goal."
The program reinforces karting as the initial rung on the ladder system. Aspiring drivers move from karting through the Skip Barber amateur and professional series to the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and then to Champ Car racing.
"We look forward to working closely with CART to grow karting in the U.S. and to help define a clear method by which young, talented drivers can prepare for the top level of Champ Car racing," said Marik. "We are planning a comprehensive marketing program around our efforts that will help karting, as well as CART, as we move forward."