A press conference was held on March 4th, at the Italian circuit of Monza, to launch the 2004 season of the LG Super Racing Weekend. The room was packed with media from Italy and throughout Europe, as well as team personnel and drivers. "We...
A press conference was held on March 4th, at the Italian circuit of Monza, to launch the 2004 season of the LG Super Racing Weekend. The room was packed with media from Italy and throughout Europe, as well as team personnel and drivers.
"We believe the upcoming season will be a real success," said Jacques Behar, General Manager of Eurosport and Chairman of SRW Events, which organises the LG Super Racing Weekend, and Chairman of KSO. "There are a number of major factors in its favour. First of all, we are visiting ten prestigious circuits, finishing the season in Dubai. This is the first step towards the rest of the world: in coming years, we would like to see eight or nine rounds in Europe, with three or four on other continents. The spectator numbers are steadily increasing, with more than 380,000 attending the events in 2003, as we offer what spectators want : accessibility, a warm atmosphere in the paddock and exciting races. We have world-wide television distribution through more than 200 channels, not only on Eurosport but through increasing numbers of terrestrial channels, and wide press coverage. Then there is the TV production, with a specialised team which films up to 15 hours live per weekend. The sponsors are also very important, including our title sponsor LG Electronics, but also Yokohama, Pirelli, Michelin, KW and Selenia. And last, but definitely not least, the quality of the various series themselves, offering excitement and action throughout the weekends."
With Stephane Ratel, CEO of SRW Events and Chairman of SRO, the promoter of the FIA GT Championship, being unavoidably detained in Dubai due to flight problems, Teams Coordinator Benjamin Franassovici stepped in to express SRO's pleasure with the 2004 entry list. "We are very happy to have already over 30 entries, including 11 Ferrari entries, four Lister Storms, five Saleens and two Chrysler Vipers. Maserati should appear from Spa onwards; we should have the Lamborghini cars from Valencia, and later in the year, Aston Martin could join. We also have some top teams and drivers in N-GT, including GPC and Freisinger Yukos Motorsport. We expect between 32 and 34 cars per race this season, which will comprise 11 rounds, finishing in Zhuhai on Nov 14th."
Marcello Lotti, CEO of KSO, the promoter of the FIA European Touring Car Championship, started off by speaking of the Super 2000 regulations, which are gradually being adopted by other touring car series. "The Championship is growing in quantity and quality, and the 2004 season looks like being a boom year for the FIA ETCC. Up to 29 competitors are expected, representing six major manufacturers (Alfa Romeo, BMW and SEAT, competing for the Manufacturers' Championship, plus Ford, Honda and Peugeot). We are very pleased that Alessandro Zanardi will be with us for the full season. The hard work we have done is bearing fruits. Our objective is to transform the FIA ETCC into a world Championship."
"We are starting 2004 in a more serene frame of mind," said Jean-Paul Mari, Racing and Communication manager of Renault Sport. "Last year, the Formula Renault V6 was brand new; by now, the series has been recognised for its professionalism, and the top four drivers from last season were all invited to test for various Formula One teams over the winter. The fact that the USA is planning an Formula Renault V6 series for 2005 is a fine example of the car's potential. 31 provisional entries have been received, and we expect between 20 and 22 cars on the grid for Monza. Technically, this is the only single-seater to offer all the features found in Formula One, such as a Formula One style dashboard, controls on the wheel, and the safety system, new this year. It is a unique training ground for Formula One, not just for the drivers but for engineers and mechanics too."
Renault Sport also runs one of the leading support events, the Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup. Full grids are expected for this new series, using the popular Formula Renault 2000 car, which has become a mandatory career step for all young drivers. The car has undergone a number of changes over the winter, with a new aerodynamic kit and other changes which will see it gain three tenths of a second per km. With around 500 cars sold around the world, this series will be an opportunity for the leading cars and teams to compete internationally.
Another leading support event is the European Alfa Challenge, which will join the LG Super Racing Weekend series at six events in 2004 - Monza, Valencia, Magny-Cours, Hockenheim, Spa and Imola. This series has grown up following the success of the Trophies run in the Netherlands and Italy last year, which have come together to form the new series.
Angelo Codignoni, Chairman of Eurosport, presented the 2004 Eurosport coverage, saying : "The LG Super Racing Weekend events are proof of what television can do if it believes in a product. We have found a fine balance over the past years, after starting from scratch, and the individual Championships have prospered within the series. We now plan to move to the World stage." Eurosport, which is shown in 54 countries, in 18 languages and in 98 million homes, is seen by an average of 21 million viewers per day. The LG Super Racing Weekend is shown during the race weekends, in live and delayed action, and is also featured on the eurosportnews channel, and on the website, www.eurosport.com. This year, a new feature will be an mms image service to mobile phones, giving a complete multi-media package.
Mr Codignoni closed the conference with a presentation of the new Italian TV channel, Sportitalia, which has been set up with the support of Eurosport and its shareholder, TF1. This channel will be free to view to 83% (46 million people) of Italian TV viewers. The aim of the channel is to offer something different from the current TV coverage, with more room for live broadcasts, especially for motorsport and the LG Super Racing Weekend series.
The season will get underway between March 26th and 28th, at Monza.
LG Super Racing Weekend - 2004 Calendar
28th March - Monza (ITA)
18th April - Valencia (ESP)
2nd May - Magny-Cours (FRA)
16th May - Hockenheim (GER)
30th May - Brno (CZE)
27th June - Donington Park (GBR)
1st August - Spa (BEL)
5th September - Imola (ITA)
19th September - Oschersleben (GER)
8th October (Dubai (UAE)