CHAMPCAR/CART: Bridgestone named Title Sponsor of Laguna Seca race

Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey announced June 7-9 CART race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca provides additional exposure for brand. MONTEREY, Calif. (May 20, 2002) -- The Bridgestone Motorsport program has made numerous appearances with other...

Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey announced June 7-9 CART race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca provides additional exposure for brand.

MONTEREY, Calif. (May 20, 2002) -- The Bridgestone Motorsport program has made numerous appearances with other series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but has never visited here as part of Championship Auto Racing Teams competition. That changes June 7-9 with the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300, when in addition to providing tires to every CART FedEx series driver in that event, the Bridgestone program will also be highlighted as title sponsor.

"We're very proud to put our name on an event of this caliber," said Bridgestone Motorsport Executive Director Al Speyer. "To be affiliated with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for a CART race is a special pleasure for us. This very upscale area of California - long recognized for its love of fine automobiles and great motorsports action - is a perfect place for us to showcase the internationally known Bridgestone brand. Since many of the world's top performance, luxury and exotic vehicles have rolled off the assembly line on Bridgestone tires, it just made a great fit for Bridgestone be the title sponsor of the CART race here.

"In conjunction with track management, we've initiated efforts to attract more people to the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey, ensuring fans from the peninsula and surrounding areas have an opportunity to see the excitement of CART competition up close," Speyer said. "This is going to be an outstanding event, and we want to make sure fans have an opportunity to experience it."

A focal point of promotional efforts for the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey is free general admission coupons for Friday and Saturday practice/qualifying sessions. The coupons are available at nearly 60 Bridgestone/Firestone retail outlets in the area, with no purchase required. Approximately 56,000 will be available through the promotion, on a first-come, first-served basis, with each person allowed to pick up four.

"It's great to partner with a sponsor that is working so hard to attract more fans and help put on a good show," said Gill Campbell, General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "We've seen the quality of Bridgestone tires in many successful events, so we're confident the CART FedEx competition here the weekend of June 7-9 will be a tremendous success. When you combine great tires, great cars, great drivers and a great track, you can only expect one thing: A great race."

The Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey is the fifth of 20 CART events scheduled for 2002, and the second conducted this season on a permanent road course. The 2.3-mile track is nestled among beautiful rolling hills, with Pacific breezes sweeping across the facility. And while it is known for it scenic appeal and atmosphere, it also has its tough side.

"As beautiful as this track is, it can be a monster for someone not prepared for its many challenges," Speyer said. "We approach it with great respect, knowing drivers will need tires with exceptional grip and strength to handle the rigorous competition here. And since we race rain or shine on CART's road and street courses, we're bringing a supply of both treaded and slick Bridgestone Potenzas for the weekend. We're confident the tires will perform as planned, contributing to another great event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca."

While this is the first time the Bridgestone brand has competed here with CART, the brand has an involvement with racing spanning more than four decades. From karts to Formula One, Bridgestone-equipped drivers have competed around the world. Those who follow the top forms of open-wheel racing have witnessed drivers on Bridgestone tires earn the last four consecutive World Driver's Championships (Mika Hakkinen in 1998 and 1999; Michael Schumacher in 2000 and 2001).

In 1997 and 1998, the FIA GT series visited Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with the Bridgestone Motorsport program supplying tires for a portion of the field. The AMG-Mercedes program - riding on Bridgestone Potenzas - earned wins here both years (Bernd Schneider/Klaus Ludwig in 1997; Ricardo Zonta/Ludwig in 1998). In the world of two-wheelers, Bridgestone-equipped motorcycle riders have also competed here in the AMA Superbike series.

Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC is a subsidiary of Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. BFNT develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton and associate and private brand tires. The company is focused on wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off-road, agriculture and other tires to its customers in North America.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Mika Hakkinen , Ricardo Zonta , Bernd Schneider , Klaus Ludwig