An interview with CART President & CEO Christopher R. Pook and Rocketsports Racing Owner Paul Gentilozzi. Adam Saal: We have an exciting announcement for us at CART. We did break it on our SPEED Channel telecast back in the United States. I...
An interview with CART President & CEO Christopher R. Pook and Rocketsports Racing Owner Paul Gentilozzi.
Adam Saal: We have an exciting announcement for us at CART. We did break it on our SPEED Channel telecast back in the United States. I think it would be appropriate to hand it to Mr. Paul Gentilozzi, who isn't feeling too good, but still has a smile on his face. What news do you have for us?
Paul Gentilozzi: I had an opportunity to talk earlier about how many years we'd been standing outside the gate watching the CART series run. For 2003, we finally bought a ticket to get inside. We're proud that Rocketsports will be a competitor in the CART series for 2003.
Adam Saal: The extent of your announcement, you're announcing that Rocketsports is coming over. Any additional news at this time?
Paul Gentilozzi: We'll have our driver announcement and major sponsor announcement at the banquet in Miami.
Adam Saal: Our banquet is next Friday in Miami at the (Hotel) Inter-Continental. We'll move right to Chris. Chris, you have to get the pieces in place for next year. This is a key component. Talk about how you feel right now.
Chris Pook: We'll really happy. We have an owner in Paul Gentilozzi that is a proven owner in motorsports. He's won championships in other series. He's a champion driver in his own right, professional businessman that understands that business, understands the business of motorsports. That's the level of owner that we want to have in CART. He's an owner that wants to win, knows how to win, wants to win in this series. I can assure you he will win in this series as he enters into 2003. We're absolutely delighted.
Adam Saal: You looked at some other series and evaluated your options. Ultimately you chose CART. What were your decisions for choosing CART?
Paul Gentilozzi: Initially, the attraction, let's just be blunt, of some of the other series is the Indy 500. That's a major motorsports event, but it is not the only place to do business. When you look at the relationships that happen on race weekends between customers and sponsors, business-to-business contact can only be done in this part of the world with CART. That changed our mind. When you look at the stock market, there are days when stock is good, stock is bad. I think we're coming at a time of opportunity. I think there's so much more momentum now for CART that it's the right buy.
Adam Saal: Definitely outstanding news for us. We have time for a few quick questions for Paul and Chris.
Q: You've been in Canada a lot. You're almost Canadian. I understand that you are trying to raise some money in Canada. Does that mean you might have a Canadian driver?
Paul Gentilozzi: There are half a dozen wonderfully talented drivers out there. We had hoped to have that announcement done today. It's a great opportunity for us to be able to spend a few more days. Whether we have a Canadian driver, Italian driver, Italian-Canadian driver, or good driver, we don't care. We want somebody that can work within our team and be productive.
Q: Paul, one-car or two-car team?
Paul Gentilozzi: At this point it's a one-car team. I hope I'm smart enough to learn to walk a little bit before we run downhill.
Q: I want to know about the change in technical laws for next year?
Chris Pook: We covered that earlier in our previous meeting. Basically the technical rule as they stand for the cars will not change, though the engines will be the Ford-Cosworth turbocharged engine for the series.
Q: Where will you run out of?
Paul Gentilozzi: We're in the middle of completing a new 30,000-foot shop. We'll continue what little bit of stuff we do with Trans-Am, Johnny Miller, we'll run out of that shop. We're tailoring it to be a CART operation.
Q: There's a lot of good engineers walking around. Will you incorporate some of your people, try to pick up a whole new CART team?
Paul Gentilozzi: I estimate that we'll hire probably eight minimum and probably as many as 10 people from the CART ranks. We were going to integrate some of the Rocketsports guys that have been there as many as 17 years. We have a great nucleus of people. But this is a new discipline. All those new good engineers, send them over to me.
Adam Saal: Gentlemen, thank you. Great announcement, great news.