Portland, Oregon (April 2, 2002) - Pierre Phillips, owner of Phillips Motorsports, today announced that the team has purchased its first Fran-Am 2000 car in preparation for the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship series. The new car...
Portland, Oregon (April 2, 2002) - Pierre Phillips, owner of Phillips Motorsports, today announced that the team has purchased its first Fran-Am 2000 car in preparation for the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship series. The new car is being air-shipped directly from the Tatuus factory, just outside of Milan, Italy, and is due to arrive stateside in the next ten days. To date, more than 400 such cars are currently competing in the Formula Renault series worldwide.
"We decided it was time to move forward with our plans for the Fran-Am series," said Phillips, whose team has long been a fixture in CART's Toyota Atlantic series. "We wanted to get a jump on everyone else who is planning on running this season by gathering as much data as possible and learning about the car. Right now, there's a schedule taking shape, a cash purse for each race, and a guaranteed ride in Europe for the championship winner. We're in the business of racing, we have a series, and we have a championship to win. It's time to get going."
"We have a number of drivers that we'll be testing starting within two weeks," said Paul Grosjean, Phillips' managing director for Fran-Am operations. "Our goal is to run three cars this year, but our priority right now is to put some mileage on the first car, continue to learn and improve the car, and narrow our driver list down to a select few. We'll be testing primarily on the West Coast at Buttonwillow, Portland, Seattle, Spokane and Las Vegas. We have every intention of winning the championship and hope to announce our driver line-up in the coming weeks."
Four of the official race dates for the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship include the Molson Indy Vancouver on Saturday, July 27, CASCAR at Mosport on June 14-16, Mid-America Motorplex on September 6-8, and the series finale at Firebird International Raceway on December 1. In addition, the series just added a fifth event at Race City Motorsport Park in Calgary, Canada, on July 21, in conjunction with the CASCAR Mopar Parts 300 weekend. Remaining events are pending and will be announced shortly.
The Fran-Am 2000 Championship, a cousin of Formula Renault in Europe and South America, 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 entire 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 is the same car that currently competes in Formula Renault around the world, and 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.
Phillips Motorsports, Inc. is a year-round professional motorsports organization based in Portland, Oregon. The team's rich history in North American racing includes fielding cars for such notable drivers as Bobby Rahal, Patrick Carpentier, Anthony Lazzaro, Geoff Brabham and Felipe Giaffone, to name just a few.
For further information on Phillips Motorsports, please contact Paul Grosjean at 503-760-0817 or via the team's Web site at www.phillipsmotorsports.com. Further information on the Fran-Am series is available at www.fran-am.com.