Positive Energy Continues to Fuel the Champ Car World Series Anticipation may be the best word to describe the lead up to the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, bringing in a new car; new television partners; and new events. With the first three races now in the books, the word has turned to exhilaration as Champ Car has shown marked growth through the early parts of the 2007 season.
Television ratings have increased greatly over last year, with more than 2.5 million viewers tuning in to watch the Inaugural Vegas Grand Prix, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Grand Prix of Houston. The season-opening race from Las Vegas drew a .83 rating on NBC, with nearly 1.4 million homes watching on Easter Sunday. That number alone topped the total number of viewers who watched the first three races of 2006 combined, one on NBC and two on SPEED. The rating for the Las Vegas race was the highest for an opening event in the last five years and was a 40 percent increase over the 2006 Long Beach season-opening event.
This year’s Long Beach race on NBC and the Houston race on ESPN combined to pull in 1.1 million viewers, resulting in an overall 119 percent increase in total viewers to start the 2007 season.
“The increase in television viewership is very encouraging for our series as we continue to bring our exciting style of racing to a larger audience,” Champ Car President Steve Johnson said. “I am confident the viewers at home have enjoyed our racing product and will continue to tune in as our season progresses.”
But television viewership is not the only thing on the rise in Champ Car as fans have turned out in droves to see the new DP01 in person.
Officials in Long Beach and Houston cite increases in attendance and hospitality over last year. Nearly 100,000 people were on hand when Sebastien Bourdais took the checkered flag in Long Beach on April 15, an increase of 10 percent over the 2006 race day crowd bringing the three-day total for 2007 to nearly 200,000 spectators.
While they say everything is bigger in Texas, it is true of the Grand Prix of Houston as the event enjoyed a 31 percent overall increase in attendance over last year’s event with more than 168,000 enthusiastic fans attending during the three day event. After three events, Champ Car has seen a 25% increase in total attendance compared to 2006.
Both venues also added new sponsors in 2007, with JAGFlo taking over the naming rights of the circuit at Reliant Park and Long Beach adding three new partners, including Verizon.
“These first three races have been prime examples of what our events are all about – an overall ‘Three Day Festival of Speed,’” Johnson said. “Everything from Jay Leno in Las Vegas to concerts in Long Beach to interactive displays in Houston, we have something for everyone, and our event promoters have done an excellent job in kicking off the 2007 season.”
Fans at home have also been surfing the internet in search of all the latest Champ Car action as the revamped www.champcar.ws has seen nearly twice as many visitors to this point over the 2006 season. Our fans are also looking to supplement the television broadcast, purchasing Race Director, Champ Car’s online video application which allows fans to watch the race live from six different camera angles while also getting telemetry and radio traffic from the cars. During the Vegas Grand Prix, more fans subscribed to Race Director than during any event in the five-year history of the service.
Those following the Champ Car World Series can sense a buzz in the air as a talented crop of young drivers including Will Power, Robert Doornbos and Graham Rahal have joined series veterans Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy on the podium this year and are challenging for pole positions and race wins.
The young Rahal is in his rookie year in the Champ Car World Series after finishing runner-up in the Atlantic championship in 2006. This season the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda has seen a tremendous field of international rising stars. The grid has been packed as nearly 30 cars are competing at each event. Included in the field are drivers from 11 countries including talented young Americans John Edwards, Carl Skerlong Jonathon Bomarito and JR Hildebrand.
Teams will spend the month of May testing the new DP01 before returning to action in Portland, Oregon on June 8-10 for the Joe’s Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland which can be seen live on ABC at 4:00 p.m. ET. Champ Car PR
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