CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Team Rahal extends sponsor partnership

Gigante and Team Rahal announce multi-year partnership extension. MEXICO CITY, MEXICO . . . Team Rahal, a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), and the Gigante Group, one of the leading self-service retail chains in Mexico,...

Gigante and Team Rahal announce multi-year partnership extension.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO . . . Team Rahal, a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), and the Gigante Group, one of the leading self-service retail chains in Mexico, announced today a multi-year extension of Gigante's primary sponsorship of Michel Jourdain Jr. in a Team Rahal Ford-Cosworth powered Lola Champ Car featuring Bridgestone Potenza beginning with the 2003 Championship Series season. The extension is a continuation of the program that started this season and has propelled Jourdain to his most productive CART season.

"Our relationship with Team Rahal and Michel Jourdain Jr. is one that we are very proud of," said Angel Losada President of the Gigante Group. "We have tried to take an innovative approach to our marketing and promotional efforts and our partnership with Team Rahal has provided us with some unique opportunities. We are excited about continuing this successful program and building our program with Michel and the two very successful Mexican races."

"We are pleased to continue this partnership with Gigante," said three-time CART champion and Team Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal. "If you look at how effectively Gigante has activated this program this year you see a group that understands how to market themselves using CART. This is a group of individuals that continues to grow their business throughout Mexico and in the United States. The fact that they have chosen the international appeal of CART, a North American based racing series, to continue to market their company speaks volumes about the appeal of CART."

The Gigante Group is present in 63 cities in Mexico and in Los Angeles, California maintaining approximately 400 points of sale specializing in groceries, perishables and general merchandise. The company also has specialized restaurants [Toks Restaurantes] and stores featuring office supplies [Office Depot] and electronic goods [Radio Shack] and a membership driven wholesale club [PriceSmart]. Gigante's first venture into the United States has been with three stores in southern-California.

In his first season with Team Rahal driver Michel Jourdain Jr. has crafted a breakout season in 2002 piloting the Gigante car to career best total in points (105), top-five results (5), top-ten results (14) and laps led. Jourdain established a Team Rahal record in his first year by scoring points in 17 consecutive races eclipsing the mark of 11 straight races set by Bobby Rahal in his final Champ Car season. Jourdain, the leading candidate for the series Most Improved Driver Award, has posted a running finish in 17 of the 18 races and leads all drivers in miles completed and laps logged. He holds the distinction of being the youngest driver in Champ Car history, an honor he secured when he made his CART debut in the Grand Prix of Long Beach in 1996 at the age of 19 years six months and 12 days.

"Being involved with Team Rahal and Gigante has been an amazing opportunity for me," said Michel Jourdain Jr. "We have had some success on track this year and now with the continuation of the program we will have the opportunity to build on that success. I feel we have only begun to scratch the surface of what Team Rahal and Gigante can accomplish together, both on and off the track."

"It certainly has been great fun watching a young driver like Michel establish himself and Gigante as front-runners this season," said Team Rahal co-owner Dave Letterman. "Team Rahal is unique in having developed longstanding partnerships with its sponsors over the years, and it comes as no surprise to me that this partnership continues to grow."

Team Rahal is a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). Headquartered in Hilliard, Ohio, the team owned by three-time CART Champion Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, currently fields a pair of Championship Cars for 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jourdain Jr. in the CART FedEx Championship Series as well as an entry for Vasser in the Indianapolis 500. The team recently signed rising open wheel star Danica Patrick to a multi-year driving contract. Patrick drove five races in the Barber Dodge Pro Series in 2002 and will graduate to the Toyota Atlantic Series in 2003 where she will pilot the Team Rahal entry. The 65-member team enjoys primary sponsorship from the Shell Oil Company and the Gigante Group in CART and the Miller Brewing Company for the Indy 500.


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Danica Patrick , Michel Jourdain