CHAMPCAR/CART: Bridgestone support beyond the track

MEXICO CITY (Oct. 12, 2003) - Moving a traveling city the size of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford paddock is no simple task, especially when it involves venturing into a foreign country. Bridgestone Motorsport...

MEXICO CITY (Oct. 12, 2003) - Moving a traveling city the size of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford paddock is no simple task, especially when it involves venturing into a foreign country. Bridgestone Motorsport eased a major concern for this week's journey to Mexico City, however, by coordinating an effort that guaranteed on-the-spot service and replacement of tires for tractor-trailer rigs and motorcoaches making the 750-mile trek from the United States border to Mexico City.

Prior to the trip, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC and Champ Car officials recorded the tire sizes of every rig and coach making the trip for teams, suppliers, sponsors and CART - nearly 100 mammoth vehicles in all that gathered at Laredo, Texas, and were split into two traveling groups through Mexico. Spare tires for each size were acquired from Indy Tire in Indianapolis and loaded onto the trailers with the race tires headed for the Gran Premio Telmex/Gigante by Performance Tire Service Co., the organization that provides Champ Car tire service and shipping for Bridgestone.

At the same time, Bridgestone/Firestone Mexico arranged for several of its top tire dealers along the route from Laredo to Mexico City to be on call for service needs should they arise. Those dealers included Motocentro Monterrey, Servisistemas Llanteros (utilizing four of its retail outlets along the path) and Llantera Garrom in Mexico City. Some of the local dealers even had service trucks travel with the caravan, to provide immediate service if necessary.

While some roads on the trip were not of the standard to which most U.S. drivers are accustomed, all the rigs and coaches made it to Mexico City without incident. The same service will be provided for the return trip to Laredo when the caravans pull out of Mexico City in shifts beginning tonight at 8 p.m. and midnight.

"We cannot express the amount of gratitude we have for Bridgestone to help us out like this," said Billy Kamphausen, Director of Logistics for the Champ Car World Series. "The effort coordinated by Bridgestone in the United States and Mexico, and Performance Tire alleviated one of our greatest concerns for the caravan trips through Mexico.

"We estimate there's nearly $75 million worth of cargo when we ship the Champ Car equipment overseas by plane for an event, and that does not include the rigs and coaches," Kamphausen added. "When you add nearly 100 vehicles averaging about $400,000 apiece, we have well more than a $100 million investment headed to Mexico City that we need to protect every way possible. Knowing we would have immediate service and the correct tires on hand if needed made it much easier to plan the procession. This was another example, albeit behind the scenes to most, of how Bridgestone goes above and beyond the call to support this series."

Bridgestone/Firestone Mexico also provided an assist in the weeks leading to the race when then the Champ Car Fast Lap pace-car program visited Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The pace cars logged numerous laps during the three-day program and several were due for new tires before the end. Bridgestone/Firestone Mexico located the proper tires and provided the service to put on the new Bridgestone equipment.

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Series IndyCar