CHAMPCAR/CART: 2005 rule changes announced

Champ Car World Series Announces Competition Rule Changes for 2005 Season INDIANAPOLIS (February 14, 2005) -- In an ongoing effort to provide the best racing and most entertainment for Champ Car fans, as well as the best competitive environment...

Champ Car World Series Announces Competition Rule Changes for 2005 Season

INDIANAPOLIS (February 14, 2005) -- In an ongoing effort to provide the best racing and most entertainment for Champ Car fans, as well as the best competitive environment for the teams and drivers of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, the series has implemented a number of rule changes that will go into effect for the 2005 season.

The rule changes address issues both on the track and in the paddock and are designed to allow teams to invoke a wide variety of strategies in their pursuit of the checkered flag. Other changes were designed to increase activity throughout the weekend in order to give the multitudes of Champ Car fans more on-track action to watch when they come to an event.

Pit intervals and mandatory pit stops have been abolished this season, meaning that teams no longer have any directives on when they must pit and what they must do during that stop. The previous rules forced teams to pit at specified intervals and forced teams to change four tires during that stop.

"The goal is to take it out of the hands of the officials and put the onus back on the teams," said Champ Car Vice-President of Operations Tony Cotman. "There's definitely more than one way to win a race, and we want to leave it up to our teams to find the best way for them to get to the front."

Rules regarding full-course caution periods have been addressed, with the pits being automatically closed during full-course yellow flag conditions. The pace car will slow the field as soon as possible once the caution flag waves, allowing the Champ Car Safety Team to address the situation. When conditions warrant, Race Control will open the pits so that all cars may pit at their discretion.

"One main point here is, once we have a full-course caution, all racing ceases," Cotman explained. "We want to give the Safety Team every opportunity to do their job safely."

The Friday and Saturday morning practice sessions will be shortened by 15 minutes, a move that is expected to lead to more on-track activity as teams will spend more of their morning hour on the track working on their machines. The process of determining where they sit on Pit Lane has been changed as well, with pit selection order set by the previous event's results instead of qualifying order as it had been in the past.

"Any team can have a good day at any given time and we want to reward them when they do have a good event," said Cotman. "Anything can happen in a race whether it be good or bad, and we want a team to get something out of it for their efforts when they do well."

The rules concerning a wet track have been abolished as well for 2005. Previously, teams would have an unlimited number of qualifying laps if Race Control called a wet track prior to the session. Now, teams will only have 15 laps to use regardless of track conditions.

-ccws-

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Series IndyCar