CHAMPCAR/CART: PacWest Announces New Partnership with Nextel

Miami, FL (February 7, 2000) - PacWest Racing Group has officially announced that wireless communications leader Nextel Communications will be the primary sponsor of its ...

Miami, FL (February 7, 2000) - PacWest Racing Group has officially announced that wireless communications leader Nextel Communications will be the primary sponsor of its #17 Mercedes-Benz Reynard to be driven by Brazilian Mauricio Gugelmin in this year’s CART FedEx Championship Series.

The stunning new red, black, white and silver Champ Car was ceremoniously unveiled to sponsors, CART officials, team members and the media during a spectacular launch at the Firehouse Four restaurant in Miami, Florida tonight.

Following a theme of “Fire & Ice” the covers were removed from the Nextel machine as well as the new-look #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz of Englishman Mark Blundell.

Both cars will be on the track for the first time in their new colors on Wednesday during the first day of the annual Spring Training open test session at the Homestead Miami Speedway.

PacWest Racing Group President, Bruce R. McCaw, looked on with other invited guests as Gugelmin and Blundell broke apart large wooden creates covering their chosen machines for the 2000 season after arriving at the high-profile party on the back of a new City of Miami fire truck.

“It is with great pleasure that I officially welcome Nextel as our newest partner at PacWest Racing,” said McCaw.

“Nextel and PacWest have had an on-going relationship for three years having worked together on successful projects at St. Louis in 1997 and Rio last season. This new arrangement, however, takes our partnership to a whole new level.

“Nextel is a dynamic company that has produced some amazing results within a very short period of time. The company is a consistent leader in global telecommunications and we will be doing everything to be a leader out on the track this season.

“We have had success in the past and intend to taste the winner’s champagne again this year.”

Nextel’s Vice-President of Corporate Communications, Ben Banta, was on hand as the Nextel colors were unveiled to the world by Gugelmin.

"On behalf of our more than 4 million customers and 13,000 employees, I would like to thank Bruce McCaw for welcoming Nextel 'officially' into the PacWest family and the exciting sport of Champ Car racing," said Banta. "It's no coincidence that we provide wireless communications services in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Japan -- four of the five countries in which the FedEx Championship Series now competes."

"Nextel has enjoyed phenomenal success by focusing its unique wireless service offering solely on the business community," continued Banta. "We are encouraged by the marketing synergy that this sport brings to our business. We see this sponsorship as a great opportunity to strengthen our existing customer relations while also providing a high-class sports venue to showcase our technology, draw attention to our company, and attract new customers."

"If the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes Benz can do to the FedEx Championship Series what Nextel has done to the wireless communications industry, and we believe they can with the team they've put together, then I look forward to seeing you all in the winner's circle this coming year," Banta promised.

Gugelmin, who has been contracted at PacWest since 1995, was delighted with tonight’s announcement.

“I think it is tremendous that a company with the strength of Nextel has shown its faith in myself and the PacWest Racing team to represent it in the FedEx Championship,” said Gugelmin.

“We will be doing everything to reward their confidence on and off the track.”

Nextel Communications is the world's leading provider of fully integrated guaranteed all-digital wireless services.

Nextel's all-in-one solution integrates digital cellular, voice mail, text/numeric paging capabilities and Nextel Direct Connect -- a digital two-way radio feature that allows a user to instantly contact 1 or 100 of their co-workers at the touch of a button.

Nextel uses iDEN (integrated digital enhanced network) technology developed by Motorola. This technology provides superior sound and transmission quality as well as built-in cloning and fraud protection.

The company is headquartered in Reston, Virginia and has wireless operations and investments in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, and Shanghai, China.

The first round of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series will be held at the Homestead Miami Speedway on March 24-26.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Bruce McCaw