CHAMPCAR/CART: 2008 schedules announced
Champ Car Announces 2008 Schedules Champ Car World Series to feature 14 races, including new event in Jerez, Spain Season Opener in Long Beach to celebrate premier Champ Car race's Silver Anniversary Atlantic Championship to include two ...
Champ Car Announces 2008 Schedules
Champ Car World Series to feature 14 races, including new event in Jerez, Spain
Season Opener in Long Beach to celebrate premier Champ Car race's Silver Anniversary
Atlantic Championship to include two stand-alone races in Utah and Trois-Rivières
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (Nov. 5, 2007)--Champ Car today released its 2008 schedule, opening the season in Long Beach to celebrate the premier Champ Car race's Silver Anniversary; introducing a new Champ Car World Series event in Jerez, Spain, to expand its profile in Europe; and featuring an enhanced Atlantic Championship schedule that includes two stand-alone races in Utah and Canada.
"We have succeeded in improving our schedules for next season, offering Champ Car fans, sponsors, teams, drivers, TV broadcasters and other stakeholders a cohesive, strong calendar of events," said Champ Car CEO and President Steve Johnson. "We will stabilize our base in North America, begin a steady growth plan for Europe, and provide a balance of temporary and permanent circuits."
The Champ Car World Series, set to conduct its 30th season in 2008, will feature eight permanent road circuits and six temporary circuits. It will hold six U.S. races, three races in Canada and one race in Mexico to maintain its solid base in North America with 10 races. The open-wheel racing series also adds one new event in Europe to expand to three European races in 2008. The schedule is pending ACCUS/FIA approval.
"By pairing Jerez with Zolder and conducting them in June, we now will be in Europe during two different times next season rather than just one as we were in 2007," Johnson said. "Assen will remain in September, where it was very successful this year. The two 2008 trips expand our reach in Europe and establish two footprints for future growth there."
The Jerez circuit was built to host the 1986 Spanish Formula One Grand Prix, which was held there for seven years. Since 1989, Jerez also has hosted one of the most popular MotoGP races in the world, and the circuit continues to be used by Formula One teams for testing. Jerez features a 2.752-miles racing circuit in the south of Spain, set in a deep valley blessed with great weather and beautiful scenery. Jerez also hosted the European Grand Prix in 1994 and 1997, the latter a memorable race for Champ Car fans as Jacques Villeneuve, who won the Champ Car title in 1995, locked up the Formula One crown at Jerez. The circuit was resurfaced in 2005 and features updated corporate, media facilities, control tower and pit boxes.
The Champ Car World Series and Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda will utilize three testing dates in February and March prior to the season-opening races in Long Beach and Houston (scheduled back-to-back on April 20 and 27, respectively). The year will officially kick off with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, one of Champ Car's premier events that will celebrate its Silver Anniversary (25 years) with Champ Car in 2008. After the Champ Car Grand Prix of Houston at JAGFlo Speedway, the Series will return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, with a race scheduled May 18. The Champ Car World Series then will head to Europe for back-to-back races in Zolder (June 1) and Jerez (June 8).
The summer will feature a return to Cleveland (June 22) and the three events that make up the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown (Mont-Tremblant, Toronto and Edmonton on June 29, July 6 and July 20). Champ Car has moved its race in Portland, Oregon from its early June date to July 27 so it can capitalize on a better weather period, immediately follow another race (Edmonton) , test Atlantic Championship teams and drivers in the market ahead of the race in May, and conduct an Atlantic Championship double-header. The Portland race also celebrates its Silver Anniversary at Portland International Raceway in 2008. The Champ Car World Series summer in North America wraps up at the Road America Grand Prix in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on August 10.
The Atlantic Championship, which will celebrate its 35th season in 2008 as the longest-running open-wheel driver development series in the world, will race on August 17 when it returns for the first time since 2003 to the streets of Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada. The Atlantic competition will serve as the feature event at Trois-Rivières, pending City Council approval later this month. Additionally, the development series' teams will race at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, outside Salt Lake City, on September 21, concluding its championship season.
After its second trip to Europe to race in Assen on September 14, the Champ Car World Series will finish with its traditionally strong events in Surfers Paradise, Australia (October 26) and Mexico City, Mexico (November 9). The Atlantic Series will conduct a non-championship race in Mexico City, a new feature at the Champ Car season finale event.
"For 2008, our prime objectives are to stabilize our events in North America and carefully foster growth in Europe by expanding into Spain while strengthening the two events in Belgium and Holland that we introduced this season," said Johnson. "We also will more fully integrate the Atlantic Series into our business operations, and continue to grow it as the premier open-wheel developmental series in the world."
2008 Champ Car Schedule Announcement Quote Board
Jim Haskins, President and General Manager, Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton: "I am impressed to see that the Champ Car World Series continues to make solid inroads on a worldwide basis. Obviously, as part of this Global series, we believe that the 2008 Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton will benefit substantially, which is good for our fans and the City of Edmonton."
Driver Oriol Servia of Spain: "I came to race in the United States in 1998 and I have not raced back in Spain since. The fans have followed me here all these years and I am excited to be racing in Spain again not just to enjoy myself but to also show the fans the great product that is Champ Car and show them the reason why I left Spain! The Jerez circuit is a great one that offers good passing opportunities, they have a knowledgeable racing crowd and a good weather. It couldn't be better news."
Al Speyer, Executive Director of Bridgestone Motorsport: "Bridgestone Motorsport is quite happy with the schedule that the Champ Car World Series has put together for 2008. One of the Series' greatest strengths is the success of its traditional races such as Long Beach, Cleveland and Surfers Paradise, and the new schedule does a great job of building around these cornerstone events while offering the opportunity to revisit a past favorite in Laguna Seca. Bridgestone received a very positive reception for Champ Car from our colleagues in Europe when we raced there in 2007, and I know they have plans to expand on their hospitality and promotional efforts in 2008. And you can once again expect to see Bridgestone as the Official Tire of races in markets that are key to our business of selling tires. All in all, Bridgestone Motorsport is very much looking forward to supplying the best tires possible to Champ Car drivers as they compete for the 2008 Vanderbilt Cup around the country and around the globe."
Derrick Walker, co-owner Team Australia: "It's a very interesting schedule. When you look at it, nearly 50 percent of our races are in the U.S. and the other half are in other places outside of the U.S. When we look at today's world, and our fan base, I think that it's a good split. I support Champ Car's objective 100 percent to secure 14 of the best events on our schedule and grow from there. As for Atlantics, the schedule reflects its growth. It's a sister to Champ Car and in recent years it has gone only where Champ Car has gone, same weekend, same place, but because of the popularity of the series. it needs to go other places. Having additional stand alone races is a reality of the need to grow Atlantics in different places. I think the two additions of these races is quite good and overall the Atlantic Series mirrors Champ Car's objectives."
Keith Wiggins, co-owner Minardi Team USA: "I think we're all happy to now have a schedule with which we can work and take to our sponsors and partners for next year. I think it is a pretty good schedule, with solid events we can rely on. On balance, it is a good selection covering strong markets in Europe, Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Mexico. It is a big positive that the Series has been able to get a firm calendar put together before the season finale next weekend, and we're looking forward to some great events in 2008."
Robert Davis, Senior VP, Quality and Product Development, Mazda North American Operations: "2008 looks to be a great season. This will be the third year of our powering the Atlantic Championship cars and we are especially looking forward to the May race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Atlantics is the top rung of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder for open wheel racers and we are happy to see so many of our alums making it to the Champ Car World Series."
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