New series delays season opener

Fran-Am 2000 Pro Championship to begin 2002 season in Calgary, Canada Season opener delayed due to late arrival of cars in North America Aspen, CO (May 22, 2002) -- Fran-Am Sport, organizers of the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship ...

Fran-Am 2000 Pro Championship to begin 2002 season in Calgary, Canada
Season opener delayed due to late arrival of cars in North America

Aspen, CO (May 22, 2002) -- Fran-Am Sport, organizers of the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship Series, today announced that the first race of the 2002 season will take place at Race City Motorsport Park in Calgary, Canada on July 20-21. The previously scheduled season opener on June 15-16 at Mosport International Raceway, as well as the series' second round at Watkins Glen International on June 22-23, will be re-scheduled to a later date.

"We're caught in the precarious situation where demand for cars is exceeding the production capacity of the factory," said Arden Weatherford, Fran-Am Sport's Director of Operations. "The good news is that the response to this series worldwide has exceeded everyone's expectations. The bad news is that the factory cannot produce enough cars quickly enough to meet the demand, so a number of our teams have yet to receive their cars. We are bitterly disappointed to be forced into this kind of decision, but we are committed to all of our competitors, and to exclude half of them at the first two rounds through no fault of their own is certainly not fair. Having to skip two incredible events at Mosport and Watkins Glen is a huge loss for all of us. But, we prefer to view them as postponements, and are seeking to re-schedule our appearances at those two great tracks at a later date."

"The response to the new formula cars all over the world has been much better than we had ever hoped for," said Gianfranco DeBellis, of Tatuus. "We understand the frustration of drivers in the US who have to wait for the cars, but now that the European championships are underway we will be able to supply more cars for the US."

As it stands right now, there are eight Fran-Am 2000 cars in North America at teams such as Phillips Motorsports and JDK Racing. Thirteen additional cars bound for North America await shipment, with more available by the end of June. To date, more than 425 such cars are currently competing in the 2002-spec Formula Renault series worldwide.

Round two of the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Championship will now be at the Molson Indy Vancouver, part of the CART FedEx Championship weekend on July 27, with additional dates confirmed at Mid-America, Las Vegas and Firebird International Raceway. Remaining dates will be announced shortly and are anticipated to include several marquee race weekends. SCCA Pro Racing will sanction all events, with co-sanction by ASN Canada FIA for the Canadian races.

The Fran-Am 2000 Championship, a cousin of Formula Renault in Europe, South America and China, begins its inaugural North American season this year with support from Michelin International. Each Fran-Am 2000 race features a $25,000 Michelin International supported cash prize fund, with the overall series champion winning a ride with a leading Formula Renault team for the 2003 European series.

Formula Renault is recognized worldwide as a primary feeder for the Formula One stars of tomorrow. Recent graduates include McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen (who went straight to Formula One from Formula Renault) as well as Sauber's Felipe Massa. American Pat Long is competing in the 2002 British Formula Renault series with Raikkonen's 2000 championship-winning Manor Motorsports team.

The Fran-Am 2000 race car features a spec-Tatuus carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, sealed 2.0-liter/186-horsepower motor (capable of running an entire season without a rebuild), 6-speed sequential gearbox, and spec-Michelin Sport racing tires. The spec nature of the series has proven to keep operating costs to a minimum, while providing a level playing field to all competitors. Since gear sets are pre-determined, race weekend adjustments are basically limited to wings, spring rates, ride height, castor, camber and tire pressure. When permitted, races begin with a standing start and run for a 50-mile duration.

Further information on the Fran-Am series is available at www.fran-am.com.

-fran am-

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Felipe Massa
Teams Sauber