Puerto Rico Grand Prix Announces Title and Presenting Sponsors SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The Puerto Rico Grand Prix, the 2003 season finale for the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrichÂ® Tires Cup, announced its title and presenting sponsors...
Puerto Rico Grand Prix Announces Title and Presenting Sponsors
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The Puerto Rico Grand Prix, the 2003 season finale for the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup, announced its title and presenting sponsors Monday, June 2 during a formal presentation at the race's official hotel, the Caribe Hilton. The race's title sponsor is the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, while the Municipality of San Juan has been inked as presenting sponsor.
Trans-Am Series Executive Director John Clagett was joined at the event by Puerto Rico Grand Prix Promoter Jorge Diaz, Trans-Am Series drivers Jorge Diaz, Jr. and Johnny Miller; and circuit designer Martyn C. Thake. Veteran Trans-Am Series competitor Stu Hayner was also scheduled to appear.
"When we began planning this year's schedule, we wanted to make the season finale a truly special event, and there is no doubt that the Puerto Rico Grand Prix will fit the bill," said Clagett. "The venue will offer fans an up-close experience with our race cars on an extremely competitive circuit that is sure to pose unique challenges for our competitors.
"We have a virtually untapped market in the Caribbean, a part of the world well known for its enthusiastic auto racing fans," he added. "I guarantee those fans will not go home disappointed."
Diaz, Jr., who currently leads the Trans-Am Series rookie standings and sits third in the overall Drivers' Championship, is looking forward to racing in his hometown. "I think that this is the largest auto event in the history of Puerto Rico," said Diaz. "I think there is going to be a great build up of enthusiasm. Everyone here follows the sport. They have favorite drivers and know a lot of auto racing history. There is a lot of enthusiasm about all of the series and the combination of the Trans-Am Series with SPEED World Challenge is a good fit.
"Between Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo, we'll have ten more Trans-Am Series entries," he added. "We could feasibly have 30 cars, which for the spectator and the sport will be awesome. We have very good drivers, who for the first time will get the chance to race with the best the Trans-Am Series has to offer. It will be a good test for them. No one has an advantage and the race will really determine who's a driver and who's not.
"Being in a place where Trans-Am Series hasn't been before will be a big advantage for the sport," Diaz concluded. "This event will make history on our island and will bring people to the track. You couldn't be in a better location. The race is in the middle of the largest population center on the island. It will be like having a race in the middle of New York City."
Miller, driver of the No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, earned his second-career victory in the most recent Trans-Am Series race at Lime Rock Park, and took the points lead in the process. Miller is looking forward to the Trans-Am Series' first visit to the Caribbean, and hopes for success on the 1.6-mile temporary airport circuit. Miller's first Trans-Am Series victory came at an inaugural event, interestingly held on a temporary street circuit, in San Diego, Calif. in 2000.
"I think there's a whole crowd of people in Puerto Rico who are really passionate about Trans-Am Series racing," said Miller. "I'm looking forward to being in front of those folks. I think it will be a great race because it looks like a beautiful facility. Plus, the fan base here is really big for the Trans-Am Series.
"I think it's a good thing for the Series to race in the Caribbean," he concluded.
Hayner, driver of the No. 2 Trenton Forging/GMAC Commercial Finance Chevrolet Corvette, recently raced in the Caribbean and looks forward to returning.
"We're really excited and looking forward to the Puerto Rico event," said Hayner. "I recently raced in Santo Domingo and the fans love the Trans-Am Series. So, I'm excited about the event, the fan interest down there, and I'm very excited about the promoter, because we know the Diaz family will be fantastic hosts."
The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars. The Trans-Am Series is America's oldest continuously running sports car racing series and celebrates its 38th anniversary in 2003.
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