Phoenix season opener preview

Fran-Am 2000 Pro Series starts this weekend in Phoenix. Montreal, Canada, April 29, 2003 -- The next generation of Formula 1 Grand Prix champions and ChampCar World Series' stars will be in action this weekend as the 2003 Fran-Am Sport 2000...

Fran-Am 2000 Pro Series starts this weekend in Phoenix.

Montreal, Canada, April 29, 2003 -- The next generation of Formula 1 Grand Prix champions and ChampCar World Series' stars will be in action this weekend as the 2003 Fran-Am Sport 2000 North American Pro Championship kicks off in Phoenix, Arizona as part of the Rolex Grand-Am event. The Fran-Am Sport 2000 Pro Series features many of North America's, Central America's and South America's most talented young drivers who aspire to become the next motor sport heroes. The 30-minute race will be held Saturday afternoon on Phoenix International Raceway's road course.

The Fran-Am Sport 2000 North American Pro Championship is a professional formula car developmental racing series designed to hone the driving skills of the up and coming road racers. Each race features a U.S. $28,500 Michelin International supported cash prize fund, with the overall series champion winning a fully paid ride in the Euro Cup Formula Renault V6 series in Europe next year. The Fran-Am 2000 Series is a cousin of the internationally acclaimed Formula Renault series. Recent Formula Renault graduates include McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya and Toyota's Olivier Panis -- all Formula 1 Grand Prix winners - as well as ChampCar World Series' drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Oriol Servia.

The Pro championship is made of 13 rounds held in conjunction with major North American road racing events such as the F1 Air Canada Grand Prix in Montreal, the Denver ChampCar event, the Mexico ChampCar race and the three Canadian Molson Indys. The Fran-Am 2000 open wheel car features a spec carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, a sealed 2.0-liter/186-horsepower four cylinder engine, front and rear wings, a six-speed sequential gearbox and spec-Michelin Sport slick racing tires.

The field of Fran-Am 2000 cars will take the 1.51-mile track Thursday afternoon for the first practice session. The level of competition is expected to be very high as many competitors have cut their teeth in various Formula Renault series around the world or in the Fran-Am 2000 World Winter Series. Amongst the drivers to look for this weekend is Great Britain's Charles Hall, the Fran-Am 2000 World Winter Series' champion who will drive for Gelles Racing this year. The field also include the 19-year old Fran-Am 1600 reigning champion Tim Barber from San Francisco, Jacksonville, Florida's Matt Green and 20-year old fellow American Nick Bussell, Finland's Toni Vilander, Mexico's Aurelio Lopez Jr., Great Britain Robert Bell and Canadians Kuno Wittmer, Andrew Ranger, Sean McIntosh and Kyle Brack, the son of former Formula 1 driver Bill Brack.

Fran-Am Sport 2000 North American Pro Championship
Round 1

Phoenix International Raceway -- 1.51-mile, 11-turn road course

Thursday May 1st: 1:15 -- 1:50 pm, Practice 1 / 5:00 -- 5:20 pm, Practice 2

Friday May 2nd: 3:40 -- 4:00 pm, Qualifying

Saturday May 3rd: 4:30 pm, RACE

-fran am-

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams