CART COO David Clare
Photo by Mark
It's Saturday in Cleveland and
CART's Chief Operating Officer, David Clare, finally has a few
minutes to relax between meetings and talk about CART and some
of the pressing issues facing the series. Clare is
CART's behind the scenes day-to-day operations man who, along
with Chris Pook, is fixing CART's past mistakes and charting
CART's future course.
Off limits during our interview was any
discussion or speculation about the future ownership of CART.
Cipolloni: David, thanks for
taking the time out of your busy schedule to have a few words
Clare: It's my pleasure.
Q: As background for our readers, how did your relationship with
Clare: I have known Chris Pook for
about 15 years. When Chris became President of CART I called him
from South Korea where I was living and said if he ever needed any help I
would be interested. Last year Chris realized he was spreading
himself too thin trying to run all aspects of CART and in Toronto last
year Chris and I talked about me coming to work for CART, and the rest is
Q: Some people have speculated that
since you worked for Bernie Ecclestone for many years he may have recommended you for the
Clare: No, at least as far as I
Q: Chris Pook has gone on record
that he would like to retire as President after the 2004 season, and
perhaps work as a consultant, or in some other capacity with CART.
promoter Norman Legault's name has come up as a possible replacement for
Pook. What about you, would you be interested in that position?
Clare: Sure, how can anyone turn
down an offer like that? I would be delighted if asked.
Q: What is your relationship with
Clare: I have known Norman for a
number of years. I would regard him as a friend.
Q: Certain high profile motorsports
players are once again predicting CART's demise. How do you respond?
Clare: I don't respond to comments
like that. Our actions will speak for themselves. Our
constituents will judge us by our actions - what we deliver, how
consistent we are, and how well we communicate with them.
Q: Where do you see CART being
positioned in the "world" scheme of things?
Clare: The motorsports
industry is changing and I don't think it has fully played itself out yet.
Not all series have felt the full effects of the change yet. TV
rights and how racing is packaged will change and we think we are ahead of
that curve. We are really the only motorsports series in the world
that focuses on urban races, and that includes F1. We will remain
primarily a North American series, but we will also race in key markets
overseas. As an urban racing series we would not be stepping on anyone's
toes (NASCAR, IRL or F1). It makes us unique; it's our place in the world scheme of
Q: As you look to the future, what
mix of US, Canadian, Mexican, European and Asian races do you envision?
Clare: Our mix and our
schedule won't be too dissimilar to what it is today. We will race
between 16 to 20 races per year.
Q: What mix of ovals, street and
road course do you envision for CART?
Clare: As I said our
current mix is good. We will race on ovals if they are within, or
very close to, an urban market such as Milwaukee.
Q: Will we see any new races in 2004
and when will next year's schedule be released?
Clare: We are working on
some new venues, which I can't talk about at the moment. We
are working on finalizing all deals and releasing our 2004 schedule by the
end of July.
Q: Will the 2004 schedule include an
improved TV package?
Clare: Absolutely, and
we will have an increased emphasis on network TV. CBS is an
excellent partner. We are trying to finalize and announce our TV
package for 2004 within 3 to 4 weeks.
Q: With regard to the 2005 engine
formula, V8 or V10, Turbo or Normally Aspirated?
Clare: We are working
with the engine manufacturers. We want to be sure our formula is
something they want. Look for an announcement by the end of summer.
Q: With the always hot Cleveland
race being so popular under the lights, have you given any thought of
trying to light a city street event such as Miami where the heat is
Clare: Well to be
honest, I had not thought about it. Although logistically it may be
hard, I think it's something that's worth considering. Shadows may
be an issue.
Q: Do you envision standing starts
for CART? After all, wouldn't that differentiate CART in the North
Clare: It certainly
would differentiate us. It has been discussed previously. It's
not on our immediate radar screen, but can't be ruled out if it makes
sense at some point in time.
Q: Can we expect to see more American
drivers in Champ Cars in 2004?
Clare: Our aim is to
have 5 or 6, but we must do it right. At the end of the day, this is
an expensive sport. We must match the drivers who have the talent with properly funded
Q: Chris has said his aim was to add
an Asian race back on CART's schedule. Can you comment on the
Beijing, China rumors?
Clare: Everyone wants to
race in China. It has great potential. However, as you know,
there are a lot of political and cultural hurdles to overcome. We
have interest from a number of Asian venues. Stay tuned.
Q: Do you see a return to South
America for CART?
Clare: South America is
a fantastic market for us, and yes we would like to get back to Brazil or
Argentina. However, the economic climate in South America can't
support a race at this time. We will keep it on our radar screens
for the right opportunity.
Q: Recently in an interview
published on CART.com, Sebastien Bourdais said he was quite happy with the
CART series, but would like to see more cars on the grid and a few more
strong teams. Can you comment on this?
Clare: Several new teams
have expressed interest in coming into our series. We are looking
for strong teams with the right financial backing. And we are
looking for new drivers who can really push the pedal. Bourdais has
proven that there are some fast young drivers out there who can come in
and do well against the more seasoned veterans.
Cipolloni: David thanks for
your time today.
Clare: You are quite welcome.
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