CHAMPCAR/CART: Australia Indy 300 statement on OWRS

Champ Car racing will continue at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Queensland's Gold Coast in 2004. This morning in a courtroom in Indianapolis, U.S, newly formed company Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS) acquired the assets including ...

Champ Car racing will continue at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Queensland's Gold Coast in 2004.

This morning in a courtroom in Indianapolis, U.S, newly formed company Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS) acquired the assets including liabilities of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) -- the previous governing body of the Champ Car World Series.

Judge Frank Otte's ruling came after a long day of bidding by both OWRS and the Indy Racing League (IRL). This result means it will be 'business as usual' for the Lexmark Indy 300 as OWRS intends to maintain and grow the current series, while maintaining the Australian race as the 'jewel in its crown'.

Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager James Ashworth said the decision is great news for Queensland's premier Event which is now heading into its 14th year.

"This decision puts an end to speculation on the future of Champ Car racing at the Lexmark Indy 300. It is all go for 2004 and beyond," said Ashworth, who was in Indianapolis for the decision.

"We have been going about our business as usual, and the Open Wheel Racing Series acquisition confirms that the Champ Cars will continue to be a feature on the Gold Coast, sharing equal billing with the V8 Supercars.

"Open Wheel Racing Series has been keeping us well informed on its intentions for the series and were always extremely confident of acquiring the remaining assets of CART.

"Its vision for the Lexmark Indy 300 is for it to be the 'jewel in the crown' of its new 16-race series.

"This begins a new chapter for our Event which has faced some adversity in the past. It has now developed into one of the world's great events with a tireless commitment from a dedicated staff of people and more than 1500 volunteers every year.

"It is also great news for our sponsors, staff, contractors, fans and the state of Queensland which enjoys an economic benefit through this Event in excess of $50 million each year."

Open Wheel Racing Series has already commenced planning for 2004, with further announcements on the series expected in coming weeks including a new television package.

BACKGROUND TO DECISION

On December 16 last year, CART agreed to commence a case under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code including a motion asking the Bankruptcy Court to approve the sale of CART's assets.

On December 30 last year, presiding Judge Frank Otte set a date of January 23 for all bidding parties to lodge their interest in acquiring CART assets, and also January 28 for a final decision to be made.

On January 13, IRL submitted a bid to buy certain CART assets, joining OWRS as bidding parties.

On January 28, Judge Otte ruled that OWRS acquire CART's assets and liabilities including current race contracts (including the contract for the Lexmark Indy 300).

Open Wheel Racing Series is a newly formed holding company owned indirectly by a group of investors including Gerald R. Forsythe, Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul Gentilozzi.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Gentilozzi , Kevin Kalkhoven