Gore pressures Champ Car series owners UPDATE #2 Dear Autoracing1.com, I agree entirely with the fan that wrote that feedback. Why is the IRL not being slammed for only having 18 cars? Champ Car has an excuse. It is only in its 3rd year of existence & the IRL has been in business for at least a decade. Plus they have the most famous race in the world, "The Indy 500," so what is their excuse? Champ Car I think finally have their head above water with all the progress they have made with this off-season adding new races, a new TV package (which was done late so we won't see the benefits of the new TV package until the next off-season when teams have something solid to attract sponsors with) and with the new car which is now faster then even an F1 car. I think Champ Car's future looks very bright. It's only a matter of time before they are back to the glory days. Rod Orlando, FL.
03/12/07 Dear AutoRacing1.com...In your comments about Craig Gore criticizing other Champ Car owners for not running two cars... you finished your article by saying "Gore is absolutely correct though, a 20 to 22 car grid is where Champ Car needs to be at. A 17 or 18 car grid looks weak and unimpressive."
In the interest of fairness... I hope that I will also see you say that the F1 grid looks "weak and unimpressive" too with its 18 cars.
Or... perhaps I will also see you say that the IRL grid looks "weak and unimpressive" with its 18 cars listed for this season.
I really had to write you this morning since I was quite disappointed and disgusted to read these comments at the end of your article. I thought they were an undeserved cheap shot.
Champ Car attendance is materially outdrawing the IRL at race venues by a huge amount. And Champ Car does not need to give tickets away like the IRL to get fannies in the seats. Let's be blunt... the dirty little secret about the IRL is that it really is a one race series... it is all about Indy. Take away Indy... and sponsorship disappears and the series is dead. There is very little interest in the other IRL races... and everyone knows it. The fans sure do.
Certainly, Champ Car and the IRL have their issues... and things for both series are not as easy as they once were when CART was in its heyday. For all of us who love open wheel racing in the US... it has been tough to see the two series struggle since Tony George formed the IRL and split CART.
The 2007 season has real and significant positives for Champ Car... and they should be recognized. Champ Car has new race venues in Las Vegas, Canada, Holland, Belgium, and China... has attracted new significant owners like former F1 owner Paul Stoddart (Minardi)... they have an all new car... and are further along with rebuilding the series on a solid footing.
And let's talk about the new car. In only its third test session this weekend at Laguna Seca... we saw Sebastian Bourdais break the lap record at Laguna Seca set by Ricardo Zonta last August in the 2006 Toyota F1 car! This is a very impressive debut for the new car... and portends an exciting season with increased performance as Champ Car takes the next solid step in their rebuilding.
Champ Car deserves a lot of credit for the progress they have made. You should recognize what is right with Champ Car and their rebuilding efforts... they are making sure and solid steps in their rebuilding.
Would we all wish that things in US open wheel racing were back to the glory days of CART? Sure. But that is not yet the reality of the situation for either US series at this time.
However, let's duly recognize the significant and substantial work that Champ Car has put forth in laying a solid foundation for its future growth. I, for one, am looking forward to this whole new Champ Car season with all its improvements. Sincerely, Jim Demas, California
Dear Jim, F1 has 22 cars (not 18) and they have lots of sponsors. Note the two feature articles on our Home Page, one by Rick Benjamin and one by Lance Freespeed that defends Champ Car's position, unlike most publications, most notable SPEEDTV.com, which has slammed Champ Car repeatedly because of the low car count and lack of sponsors. The series owners on several occasions last year were quoted as saying the series would have 20 to 24 cars in 2007. They set the bar high and now that it has not materialized Champ Car looks weak because of it. Regardless of series, 18 cars is not enough to generate enough fan interest. Every driver has fans. The more drivers, the more interest in the series. NASCAR starts 43 cars every race - huge attendance and huge TV ratings. Mark C. 03/11/07 In this SPEEDTV.com article Team Australia co-owner Craig Gore slams Champ Car series owners Gerald Forsythe (Forsythe Racing), Dan Pettit (RuSPORT and PKV) and Paul Gentilozzi (Rocketsports) for not running two cars in Champ Car this year.
“I want to see this sport grow and the only way that’s going to happen is if we all pull in the same direction,” said Craig Gore of Team Australia. “My personal involvement in it aside, I believe this is the best open wheel racing series in the world.
“Right now it appears as though we’ll have a 17 or 18 car grid for the first race of the season. 17 or 18 cars is a good grid, but there’s probably a couple of team owners that should have two cars (apiece) out there that aren’t applying the funding to do it.
“The rest of us are busting our asses 24/7 to do two cars and what Dan Pettit and Paul Gentilozzi are doing (by consolidating single car programs at RuSPORT and Rocketsports into a two car “technical partnership”) is, in my opinion, crap. As I said, I think a 17 or 18 car grid is feasible but it would be better to have twenty cars; I think the series would benefit hugely. As series owners, I think it’s their responsibility to run two cars.”
“I’m not a racer, I’m a businessman,” said Gore. “But I’m making a serious investment in the sport of auto racing here in the United States. When Dan Pettit and Paul Gentilozzi don’t make a similar investment what message does that send? It’s time to stop treating guys like Dale Coyne, Eric Bachelart and Keith Wiggins like Grade B shareholders.”
He went on the say in the article that he expects Forsythe will run a second car at the end of the day and both Gentilozzi and Pettit took issue with Gore's comments, Pettit saying he runs three cars because he is still involved with PKV Racing (but both of those cars are fully sponsored) and Gentilozzi says he has been supporting the series for years.
Gore is absolutely correct though, a 20 to 22 car grid is where Champ Car needs to be at. A 17 or 18 car grid looks weak and unimpressive.