Champ Car takes to the streets in glamorous Las Vegas
INDIANAPOLIS – With seventeen brand-new Champ Cars set to take the grid on one of six new venues to grace the 2007 schedule, the Champ Car World Series finds itself on the brink of a future that may be even brighter than the glitz and glamour that surrounds the season-opening Vegas Grand Prix.
The series is set to embark on a groundbreaking season that features a deep and talented driver roster, new races in major world markets that includes Las Vegas and Phoenix as well as four coveted international destinations, a lineup of event and team sponsors that will continue to grow throughout the season and attendance numbers that rank among the best in all of sports. The Vegas event will serve as a glittering launchpad for the season, complete with big-name concerts, charity galas featuring Jay Leno and Jon Bon Jovi as well as poker tournaments and street parties for the fans.
“This has been a very important off-season for the future of the Champ Car World Series, and we feel that the series is positioned to have a breakout year,” said Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. “We are introducing a new car that represents the cutting edge of American technology, have added tremendous new events to a schedule that already features many of the world’s top markets and we have a sponsor base that continues to expand. We couldn’t be more excited about the prospects for the 2007 season.”
The list of new venues features an historic October trip to Zhuhai, China, where the Champ Car World Series will become the first U.S.-based sporting organization ever to hold a regular-season event in China. The Chinese event officially kicked off to great fanfare in the country last week with the announcement that Chinese open-wheel prodigy Jiang Tengyi will be joining the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. The series will return to Europe for the first time since 2003 as part of a schedule that includes major markets such as Los Angeles, Houston, Toronto, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Montreal and Mexico City.
An improved series television package has already paid dividends in helping attract sponsorship for teams and events. Redback Networks (San Jose), Steelback (Toronto), Generac (Road America), Lexmark (Surfers Paradise) and Toyota (Long Beach) have already signed deals as title sponsor for their respective events, while teams will feature backing from companies such as McDonald’s, Red Bull, CDW, MEDI|ZONE, Indeck, Aussie Vineyards, Telmex, Lexington Energy Services, Wal-Mart and 42 BELOW.
Not only will those sponsors receive great exposure from increased television presence on ABC/ESPN, CBS Sports and NBC, but will also be seen by more than two million spectators in 2007. The opening three-race swing through Las Vegas, Long Beach and Houston is expected to draw 500,000 fans through the gates as the series looks to improve on a 2006 that saw Champ Car attract more than 130,000 fans per event.
“As it has been for many years, our fan base continues to be the cornerstone of our success,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “The excitement caused with the new cars, drivers and venues will energize our fans more than ever, which in turn sparks growth in all other areas. We are very much anticipating a great reaction from everyone as we get underway this weekend at Las Vegas.”
The fans will be treated to some of the closest racing in recent Champ Car seasons as the new DP01 will serve to level the field, while top-tier talent both rookie and veteran will take up the task of dethroning three-time and defending champion Sebastien Bourdais. Rookie stars Graham Rahal, Neel Jani, Robert Doornbos, Ryan Dalziel and Simon Pagenaud bring great promise and have posted strong times in preseason testing, while young chargers such as Will Power and Dan Clarke are prepared to move up to the next level after taking Champ Car podium finishes last year. Veterans Paul Tracy, Justin Wilson, Alex Tagliani and Mario Dominguez bring race-winning experience to the fight and with three races in three weeks to start the season, the start of the 2007 campaign will be even more important than ever.
The season takes the green flag this weekend with the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix, which will be run on a new street course in the Freemont District of the city. The event gets underway with practice and qualifying on Friday, April 6, with the season-opener set for Sunday, April 8. Fans can follow all of Sunday’s action live on NBC, with coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. In addition, live timing and scoring and news updates throughout the weekend will be available on the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws. Champ Car