CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Season finale pre-race notes, schedule

WHAT: Gran Premio Telmex-Tecate Presented by Banamex WHERE: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico WHEN: Friday -- Sunday, November 4-6 SUPPORT EVENTS: Grand American Rolex Series, Formula Renault, Clio Cup EVENT SCHEDULE...

WHAT: Gran Premio Telmex-Tecate Presented by Banamex

WHERE: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico

WHEN: Friday -- Sunday, November 4-6

SUPPORT EVENTS: Grand American Rolex Series, Formula Renault, Clio Cup

EVENT SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4
Champ Car practice, 10:15 -- 11:30 a.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 2:00 -- 3:00 p.m.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5
Champ Car practice, 9:15 -- 10:15 a.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 12:45 -- 1:45 p.m.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6
Champ Car warmup, 10:45 -- 11:15 a.m.
Gran Premio Telmex-Tecate Presented by Banamex, 2:45 p.m.

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6 -- SPEED Channel, Gran Premio Telmex-Tecate Presented by Banamex, 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time (Live).

2004 CHAMPION:  Sebastien Bourdais

2004 POLESITTER: Sebastien Bourdais
TRACK LAYOUT:  2.786-mile road course

RACE LENGTH: 70 laps (195.020 miles)

TRACK RECORDS:
Qualifying (one lap) -- 2004, Sebastien Bourdais, 116.733 mph (1:25.919 seconds).

Race -- 2004, Sebastien Bourdais, 106.327 mph (1:39:02.662), based on 63 laps (175.518 miles).

RACE ROUND: 13 of 13 in the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES POINTS LEADERS: 1, Sebastien Bourdais, Newman/Haas Racing, 344; 2, Oriol Servia, Newman/Haas Racing, 265; 3, Justin Wilson, RuSPORT, 231; 4, Paul Tracy, Forsythe Championship Racing, 221; 5, A.J. Allmendinger, RuSPORT, 199.

INSTANT REPLAY: Sebastien Bourdais wrapped up his first Champ Car title with a dominating win from pole, leading all 63 laps in clinching the Vanderbilt Cup. The day was not without incident however as the champ spun in Turn 14 and nearly hit the wall, but was able to keep the car off the barrier and on the track. Bourdais had a 17-second lead when the spin took place but his quick turnaround allowed him to keep the lead ahead of teammate Bruno Junqueira and A.J. Allmendinger. Bourdais grew his advantage to nine seconds over his Newman/Haas teammate with 10 laps to go, but a group of lapped cars, themselves fighting amongst themselves for position, forced the leader to slow his pace. Slowing to find a way through the pack allowed Junqueira to whittle all but two seconds off the lead, but Bourdais eventually picked his way through the pack to take the win. Junqueira finished second with Allmendinger rounding out the podium ahead of fellow rookie contender Justin Wilson. Veteran Jimmy Vasser rounded out the top five.

WHOS HOT

Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonalds Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will be looking to cap his 2005 championship season off in winning style after clinching the title in Australia. In Surfers Paradise, Bourdais scored his sixth victory of the season and has a streak of nine consecutive top-five finishes In 2005 the Frenchman has been the face of consistency finishing all but one lap this season. Last year in this event he started on the pole and led from start to finish, clinching the series title.

A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Intel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) scored his fourth podium this season and matched his career-best finish when he passed under the checkered flag in the second spot on the Gold Coast. Last year, Allmendinger qualified seventh, and scored a third place finish in his first race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) posted his 33rd career podium finish in Australia and scored back-to-back podium finishes for the first time since the 2000 season. To this point, Vasser has recorded a series-record 209 consecutive starts. Last year in Mexico City he scored his best start and finish on the course beginning the race in the fourth position before concluding in the top-five.

Oriol Servia (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) earned his first career pole on the streets of Surfers Paradise. After being caught up in a first lap incident, the Spaniard battled back to take a fifth-place finish. Coming into Mexico City, Servia has two top-ten finishes and one top five start to his credit at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

In the three previous events at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Mario Dominguez (#7 Roshfrans Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is the only Mexican driver to score a podium finish. He accomplished this feat in 2003 when he drove his mount to a third place finish.

Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is the 2003 champion of the Gran Premio Telmex/Tecate. Tracy won from pole in 2003, leading 64 laps.

Justin Wilson (#9 SanDisk Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) holds a 10-point lead over Paul Tracy for the third spot in the season standings. Last year at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in his rookie start, Wilson qualified third and brought his ride home in the fourth spot.

Five of the drivers in this year's lineup have Mexico City podiums to their credit. Additionally each of the last three series champions (Bourdais, Tracy, da Matta) have finished on the podium in the year that they have won their championships.

DID YOU KNOW

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is named for the famous Mexican brothers Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez and was modeled after Italy's Formula One Monza track. It was built in a park in 1962, after the success of Ricardo Rodriguez in Formula one motivated the Mexico City authorities to invest in the construction the racing circuit. The track got its name shortly after it opened when Ricardo Rodriguez tragically lost his life here in a non-title event (Ricardo's brother Pedro would also lose his life behind the wheel two years later). The circuit hosted its first Formula One Mexican Grand Prix one year later and remained part of the F1 calendar through 1970, when the track suffered serious crowd control problems and after the 1970 event the FIA refused to give the Mexicans a new World Championship date because they were unable to guarantee that the crowd would not invade the track. The circuit was rebuilt and in 1986 F1 returned. The track was bumpy mostly due to Mexico City's location on a geologically active region and an elevation of 7,500 ft the thin air makes breathing more difficult for both the drivers and their cars. But it was agreed the new circuit was a great challenge, particularly the final curling banked 180-degree corner called the Peraltada. Champ Car made its first appearance on the circuit in 1980 and 1981, but did not return again until 2002. After the last F1 Mexican Grand Prix in 1992, a baseball stadium was built on part of the circuit, so when Champ Car series began coming to the track in 2002, it was partially bypassed by a series of sharp turns entering and exiting the baseball field, re-entering Peralta halfway through. So in essence the outfield is home on race weekends to guys who make their living driving twice as fast as a Nolan Ryan fastball.

NOTEWORTHY

When Sebastien Bourdais took the green flag in Australia he became the third driver to record back-to-back championships in his second and third years of competition, joining the ranks of Champ Car Champions Mario Andretti and Alex Zanardi.

In 1980 when Champ Car traveled to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, it became the first Champ Car sanctioned race to be held in Mexico.

Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) made his 103rd consecutive Champ Car start in Surfers Paradise, passing Max Papis for 12th on the all-time list.

Even with the championship clinched there are still some valuable points up for grabs going into Mexico City. Currently only ten points separates the third and fourth positions held by Justin Wilson and Paul Tracy. The chase for the fifth position is also going strong with only ten points separating fifth through eighth place in the standings.

BY THE NUMBERS

7,500 -- The elevation in feet of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. 1962 -- The year the first race was ran at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. 19 -- The age at which Ricardo Rodriguez took his first checkered flag on the F1 circuit, at the time he was the youngest Grand Prix driver to make at least a dozen laps in a race. 16 -- The number of turns on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez course. 3- The highest a Mexican born driver has placed in Champ Car competition in Mexico City (Mario Dominguez in 2004). 3.1 -- miles, the original length around the Autodromo Hermanos, before it was reconfigured. 2.79 -- The current length of the Mexico City course. 2 -- How many times the Mexico City race has been won from the pole position (2003 and 2004).

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Oriol Servia , Ricardo Rodríguez , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger