NA: Winter Series Homestead-Miami preview

Montreal, Canada, February 12, 2003 -- The next two rounds of the hotly disputed 2003 Fran-Am 2000 and Formula Renault 2000 World Championship Winter Series will be held this weekend on Miami Homestead's road course located south of the city of ...

Montreal, Canada, February 12, 2003 -- The next two rounds of the hotly disputed 2003 Fran-Am 2000 and Formula Renault 2000 World Championship Winter Series will be held this weekend on Miami Homestead's road course located south of the city of Miami, Florida. The World Winter Series is truly an international series starring 36 drivers coming from 13 different countries including Great Britain, United-States, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador to name just a few. Several teams have brought cars, transporters and crew over to Florida for the series from countries like United Kingdom, Italy and Mexico.

In the opening two rounds held in Sebring, Florida three weeks ago this five-race series proved to be extremely competitive. The top 13 competitors qualified within one second and two different drivers emerged as race winners. Great Britain's Robert Bell won the first race while Argentina's Juan Martin Ponte captured victory in round two.

Robert Bell, the 23-year old driver of the Firstair/Aerospace Fastner car is a two-time British Formula Renault Winter Series champion and now lies on top of the standings with a total of 146 points. American Jeff Simmons, who competed in the Indy Lights Series in 2000, is second in the standings with 118 points, having claimed second place in the opening round. Mexico City's Homero Richards is currently third in the standings with 92 points, leading Argentina's Juan Martin Ponte by just two points. The 17-year old Ponte is a vastly experienced driver, having contested the Italian Formula Renault Championship in 2002.

There will be plenty of action on Miami Homestead's road course with the presentation of two races in just two days. Many drivers will fight fiercely because only the top 25 drivers in the standings will be allowed to contest the final, fifth race which will be held on St. Petersburg's street course during the opening round of the 2003 CART World Series. The drivers will also to for the series' title, a cash prize fund of U.S. $100,000 and a free test drive in the new Formula Renault V6 car in Europe.

"I'm really happy to stand on top of the point standings after two races," said championship leader Robert Bell. "My goal is to win in Homestead. I cannot afford to drive too cautiously. I'll go for the victory. We like winning and we like the taste of champagne ! But I'll drive with my head and if I cannot win, I'll take second place to score valuable championship points."

The Winter Series is opened to Fran-Am and Formula Renault single seaters powered by two-litre engines. These race cars are powered by 185-horsepower, four-cylinder Renault engines, are fitted with front and rear wings and are shod on slick Michelin tires. The competitors are amongst the world's best up and coming race car drivers who will soon be the next Formula 1 and CART Series' drivers.

-www.fran-am.com.

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Series Formula Renault
Drivers Juan Martin Ponte , Homero Richards