CHAMPCAR/CART: St. Pete: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone ushers in new age as Presenting Sponsor with 2003 Champ Car World Series debut in Tampa Bay area. ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Feb. 21, 2003) - Everything is in place for a new era of racing to be launched this weekend with Bridgestone ...

Bridgestone ushers in new age as Presenting Sponsor with 2003 Champ Car World Series debut in Tampa Bay area.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Feb. 21, 2003) - Everything is in place for a new era of racing to be launched this weekend with Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The cars are ready. The drivers are ready. The newest street circuit is ready. And so are the men and women of Bridgestone Motorsport, who supply tires and technical support to every Champ Car team.

The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks the opening of the 2003 Champ Car schedule, and with it a new generation in the long, successful history of Bridgestone Motorsport. After being involved with numerous other forms of racing over the past four decades, Bridgestone entered the Champ Car World Series for the first time last year, serving as Official Tire Supplier to every competitor at every race. At California Speedway last fall, Bridgestone's Presenting Sponsor status for 2003 was announced.

"While it's always exciting to begin a new year of racing, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is doubly special for us," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Bridgestone Motorsport. "With the start of action this weekend in Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, we proudly wear the ranks of both Presenting Sponsor and Official Tire Supplier. This event launches a season full of wonderful opportunities to demonstrate the strength of our technologies and our people, and to showcase the Bridgestone brand worldwide.

"We see tremendous value in this series under the leadership of its CEO and President, Chris Pook," Speyer continued. "With it four types of racing courses - oval, superspeedway, road and street circuits - we can highlight our capabilities to develop and produce tires to take on the toughest assignments. We also have enhanced marketing tools, allowing us to reach more consumers."

The value-added initiatives include Bridgestone being named the Official Tire of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. To help pique fan interest in the event, nearly 100 independent Bridgestone retail outlets throughout Florida completed one of the largest pre-race promotions in Champ Car history.

Fans could stop by participating Tires Plus and TireStarz locations to pick up free ticket vouchers to attend Friday's on-track activities at no cost, plus they could register to win a pair of race-day tickets given away at every location. Store employees also competed in Bridgestone sales incentive contests to earn race-day tickets.

"This independent promotion is indicative of the way Bridgestone plans to activate the marketplace in several cities where Champ Cars race," Speyer said. "It helps increase the racing fan base and generates additional positive exposure for the Bridgestone brand. It's a win-win situation. To put it in racing terms, this is only the drop of the green flag. There's an entire 19-race season of Bridgestone innovation and excitement to come."

BRIDGESTONE POTENZA FAST FACTS
Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford
Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Fla., Round 1 of 19
Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., Feb. 21-23, 2003

Tire Quantity: Bridgestone shipped, and will mount and balance, about 1,000 tires for use this weekend. That includes nearly 600 dry-condition (slick) tires and some 400 wet-condition (rain) tires. All were designed and produced at Bridgestone's Akron (Ohio) Technical Center.

Tire Types: Bridgestone engineers selected a proven commodity for its dry-condition tires this weekend, choosing its more durable street-course compound and construction. All the Champ Car World Series teams and drivers that participated in the Spring Training sessions at Sebring International Raceway from Feb. 4-6 were able to test on the same tire specification. This tire spec was also utilized last year at street races in Denver and Australia. Per Champ Car rules, each car is permitted seven sets (28 tires) of dry-condition tires.

The rain tire specification for this weekend is an entirely new compound and construction. It provides more grip in the wet than last year's street-course wet spec. Teams are permitted up to four sets (16 tires) of rain tires for the weekend.

-bridgestone-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Chris Pook