CART'S FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES TO VISIT MEXICO IN 2001;=20 STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY IN MONTERREY TO HOST CHAMP CARS LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 14, 2000) - The world's fastest closed-course race cars will bring their exciting, high-speed...
CART'S FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES TO VISIT MEXICO IN 2001;=20 STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY IN MONTERREY TO HOST CHAMP CARS
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 14, 2000) - The world's fastest closed-course race cars will bring their exciting, high-speed sport to Mexico's third-largest city when the CART FedEx Championship Series journeys to Monterrey, Mexico for the 2001 Monterrey Grand Prix.
Officials from Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc., joined with city and state officials from Monterrey and Nuevo Leon, as well as event promoter Pat Patrick, Ron Dickson of Forsythe Racing and sponsor Tecate to announce the Fundidora Park site which will serve as the venue for the exotic, open-wheel Champ Cars. CART raced in Mexico in 1980 and 1981.
"We have long wanted to return to race in Mexico and, through a large amount of hard work by both the city and state, as well as our event promoters, we are pleased to be able to bring the FedEx Championship Series to Monterrey in our 2001 season as the first year of a five-year sanctioning agreement," said CART Chairman and CEO Andrew Craig. "This race gives us presence now throughout all of North America. Many of our sponsors do a significant amount of business in Mexico and this decision provides them with added value for their sponsorship.
"Also, there is a large contingent of Champ Car fans in Mexico and they have a particular interest in their countrymen - Adrian Fernandez and Michel Jourdain Jr. - who race with us throughout the world. In addition, the Monterrey Grand Prix will feature the Dayton Indy Lights Championship, the top rung of the CART ladder system of development. Among the Indy Lights contestants are two teams with Mexican ownership and five Mexican drivers. It is terrific that we will be bringing these race series to Monterrey next year."
For CART co-founder U.E. "Pat" Patrick, the Monterrey race means the realization of a dream.
"We have been trying for several years to get everything in place to make this event a reality," said Patrick, whose race teams have 41 victories, 30 pole positions and two national championships during 28 years of Champ Car competition.
"Our goal is to build the most beautiful road course in the world and develop a premier racing event. Given our relationships with Adrian (Fernandez) and Tecate, the Monterrey Grand Prix is a natural extension of our involvement in the FedEx Championship Series. This event exemplifies the direction that CART has successfully taken over the last decade. We are bringing racing to the people."
Patrick acknowledges the key partners, saying, "I want to thank our partners at Forsythe Racing and Tecate, as well as the city of Monterrey, the state of Nuevo Leon and CART, for helping to make this race come to life."
Fundidora Park is located in the center of Monterrey, a major hub of Mexico's economy and one of its most modern cities with a population of more than 3 =BD million. Located two-and-a-half hours south of Laredo, Texas in northern Mexico, Fundidora Park will provide a scenic backdrop for the planned eight-turn, 2.1-mile temporary street circuit, which is currently under construction.
Forsythe Racing President Ron Dickson - along with CART Vice President of Competition and Chief Steward J. Kirk Russell - has played an integral role in the design and building of the circuit and says it will be unlike any venue the Champ Cars visit.
"There are several features of this circuit that will be found only at Fundidora Park," said Dickson. "The circuit itself will be a roadway for most of the year and all the retaining walls will be permanent. It is a circuit that, on average, is 45.5 feet in width, which is quite wide for this type of facility.
"Additionally, the course will be enhanced by trees and other local foliage that will allow it to retain its character as a park. There are several structures around the circuit that will be improved to bring them up to the standard we need for our event but their look and feel will remain the same, reinforcing our commitment to retaining the heritage and cultural integrity of the park.
"We plan to utilize the latest technology in all aspects of the venue," continued Dickson. "Spectator viewing will be better here than at any other temporary circuit because of the raised earthen embankments we are creating as we build the circuit. All cabling and electrical infrastructure will be in-ground and there will be extensive use of big screen televisions to enhance the spectator experience. This will be the most modern and fan-friendly venue of this type on the CART schedule."
The park covers roughly 172 acres and is just four minutes from downtown Monterrey. Surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountains, there are many routes into and out of the city, including excellent highways and Monterrey's international airport, which offers daily flights to and from many cities in Mexico and the United States.
Fernando Canales, Governor of the State of Nuevo Leon added, " We are very pleased with this announcement. We look forward to welcoming the CART racing teams and all their spectators to our capital city of Monterrey. I am confident they will find a friendly atmosphere and great enthusiasm on the part of our citizens for hosting this world-renowned event. As governor of this great state, I am delighted with the opportunity it will give us to showcase Nuevo Leon and Mexico to the rest of the world."
"We are tremendously pleased to be involved with CART, Mr. Patrick and Mr. Forsythe in bringing an event of this magnitude to Mexico. This project also will allow the people of Mexico to enjoy an international racing event, featuring many of their countrymen, in a state-of-the-art facility," said Jose Antonio Fernandez, chairman of the board and CEO of Tecate.
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series, which is comprised of 20 races in five countries on four continents in 2000. Champions Juan Montoya, Michael Andretti and Jimmy Vasser are among the drivers who battle for the series title at speeds of more than 230 miles per hour on oval circuits as well as temporary and permanent road courses. CART also owns and operates its top two development series -- the Dayton Indy Lights Championship and the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.cart.com <http://www.cart.com>.