CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston unveils track layout

GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON UNVEILS TRACK LAYOUT FOR RETURN OF CHAMP CAR RACING TO THE STATE OF TEXAS HOUSTON (November 9, 2005) -- The majority of the drivers on the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford roster will have...

GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON UNVEILS TRACK LAYOUT FOR RETURN OF CHAMP CAR RACING TO THE STATE OF TEXAS

HOUSTON (November 9, 2005) -- The majority of the drivers on the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford roster will have never been to the city of Houston when Champ Car returns to the Lone Star State in 2006, but thanks to today's announcement, they now know where to expect once they get there.

The Grand Prix of Houston organizers today unveiled their track layout for the May 11-13 event, which will feature the Champ Car World Series, Champ Car Atlantic Series and the American Le Mans Series when Houston hosts its first world-class racing event since the Champ Cars last visited in 2001.

The 10-turn, 1.7-mile layout will wind its way through the facility surrounding the legendary Houston Astrodome as well as Reliant Stadium, site of Super Bowl XXXVIII. The massive facility will not only host a Champ Car race for the first time, but will feature a pair of twists as the Champ Cars will battle under the lights in a Saturday evening race in their return to Houston. The ALMS sportscars will race under the lights on Friday evening. The Saturday night Champ Car will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern Time

Promoter Mike Lanigan, who is also the co-owner of the Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing Champ Car team, was on hand today with his Mi-Jack/Conquest squad -- which is co-owned by former Indy Lights champion Eric Bachelart -- to participate in the official event launch for the race.

"We knew that this race was a huge success when it was run here five years ago but we plan on building the event into something bigger and better for everyone," Lanigan said after announcing that he had inked a five-year deal to promote the Houston event. "It will be great for race fans but we are focusing on providing world-class entertainment for the entire family all built around some top-flight racing."

Event General Manager Chuck Kosich as well as officials from Reliant Park and Harris County addressed the large crowd of local business leaders gathered for the event launch. Champ Car Executive Vice-President of Governmental Affairs, Planning and Development Joe Chrnelich was on hand to witness the launch after spending much of the last year working toward Champ Car's return to Houston.

"This has been a total team effort all along and that effort paid off as we were able to bring Houston into the Champ Car family," Chrnelich said. "Clearly, today's turnout backs up what we have been thinking about this event all along. This race was one of the most exciting aspects of our 2006 schedule and we know that we will all put on a show that will make the people of Houston proud."

Current Champ Car drivers Andrew Ranger (#27 Mi-Jack/Tide Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Nelson Philippe (#34 Wellbox Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) were on hand to give fans and leaders in the Houston business community a first-hand look at the 750hp turbocharged fury that a Champ Car can provide. The Mi-Jack/Conquest team performed some simulated pit stops while Philippe gave some lucky Houstonites a ride in the Champ Car two-seater.

"The track looks like a lot of fun and we expect that we will have a great weekend when we come back in May," said Ranger, who finished 10th in the year-end point standings. "I think the people of Houston will enjoy the event and I hope to see a lot of them here."

Much more information about Champ Car's return to Houston, Texas can be found on the event's website, www.grandprixofhouston.com. Fans can keep up with all of the latest event news on the site and will be able to buy tickets to the May 11-13 race. In addition, fans can follow the latest happenings in Champ Car by logging on to the official website of the series, www.champcar.ws.

-ccws-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Nelson Philippe , Andrew Ranger