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New ’Racy’ Champ Car team for 2008 UPDATE #7 Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, In the past week, there have been some seriously intense discussion about 'AVN Racing'. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of middle ground here - you're either for them or you're not. But one thing is for certain: They've already generated as much - if not more - more buzz from the appearance of their show car at Erotica LA than they probably expected to get from actually appearing on the grid!

While I personally don't have the slightest problem with a sponsor like AVN (and the associates they seem to have lined up, based upon the way their show car was presented) I think this is potentially case of 'penny wise, pound foolish'. Champ Car needs sponsors, no question. But can they afford to take one that might chase others away? In my opinion, adding one well-funded car to the grid is not worth losing two or three or more others.

Champ Car has been going to great lengths to brand itself as a family-friendly series. The only way AVN's associates will get any value out of this venture is by selling more DVDs or website memberships or getting more advertising revenue because traffic on their websites has gone up 500%. There just isn't a place there for AVN that can accomplish those goals while keeping things at arm's length for the sake of the series. Maybe I just need to think more creatively, but right now I'm just not seeing it.

I think Champ Car should give this one a pass. They just aren't in a position where they can have a lightning rod sponsor on the grid. Yet. Matt Snyder, Redondo Beach, CA

06/30/07 See rumor on AVN Racing, the notion that Champ Car won't let them into the series may not be true.

A reader writes, Personally, I think it is a great way to get some media attention. Jeeez, did you see the media attention it got at that one simple car show? When is the last time you saw that kind of attention brought to Champ Car? Round 1: Tracy vs. Tag? Round 2: Tracy vs. Bourdais?
If it is done in a very professional manner, I don't see any problem with it. Only if it gets flagrant will it do harm. Let's remember, in terms of sex, the US is much more conservative than most of the Western world. That is something to be considered when marketing mainly in the US, but, honestly, if the girls are dressed up in very professional, respectable, and classy attire and the marketing is done respectfully with taste, why the heck not?
I'd definitely pay more attention to what they are promoting and selling. Can you honestly say you wouldn't as an average American? Remember the "oh my gosh?!" when Mark Martin was first sponsored by Viagra? It brought a lot of attention and funny jokes initially (like he drives harder than any other driver). Yet, over time, it did two things: gave NASCAR a boost in media attention and proved that nobody really cared (and this is in a racing series based on Southern Baptist roots and morals).
Bubbas equals NASCAR and now....Sex equals Champ Cars....hmm, so what is the problem now? D. Hughes, Cincinnati, OH  

06/26/07 According to our sources Champ Car is probably not going to allow AVN into the series. It's simply too risky because it may scare away some existing sponsors as well as potential new sponsors. There is nothing to be gained here (but for one new car on the grid) and everything to lose long-term.

06/24/07 According to our sources at Champ Car, AVN has not yet been approved to enter the series. It will require a very tight contract that would ensure the presentation from the team is never offensive and that would include the wording used (for example AVN Racing is OK but spelled out, Adult Video News, would be prohibited) and the clothing that any of the models/actors were to wear both in advertisements as well as at the track. The last thing Champ Car would want to do is drive an existing sponsor out of the series because of AVN. A precedence has been set with Playboy in Grand-Am and Penthouse in NHRA and World of Outlaws, both of which sell adult videos in addition to their magazine. Because it was managed properly it has not been a problem with other sponsors that we are aware of.

06/23/07 The response from fans and the companies at the show has been very surprising we are told. It's been a pretty big deal there, and AVN has them right in the middle of the floor. We are told there has been a huge crowd around the booth this evening as the Saturday night crowd really flowed in. The crowd was around the AVN booth despite the appearance of adult movie stars Jenna Jameson and Tera Patrick. The crowd around the AVN Racing booth attracted rock star Dave Navaro (formerly of Janes Addiction) to the booth to film his weekly show from the AVN Racing booth. Dave got in the car and posed for pictures for a crowd of fans at least 10 deep. To the right is a shot of the mayhem. They had to call in extra security.

06/23/07 Here is the first photo from the show of the AVN Champ Car. This deal has yet to be announced by Champ Car, so until then it is not official.

06/23/07 AutoRacing1.com has learned through its exclusive sources that this team is planned to be a 1-car team for now but it could a 2-car team....and it will not be a ride buyer situation either. More to follow....

06/23/07 LOS ANGELES - AVN Media Network has joined forces with Sports & Entertainment International (SEI) to launch AVN Racing, a professional racecar team representing the adult industry. Owned and managed by SEI Racing Enterprises, the team will enter the Champ Car World Series next year. The car itself is being displayed in an AVN Racing booth at Erotica LA this weekend (June 22 - 24), at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The Champ Car World Series is an open-wheel racecar series with races in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia that are broadcast to over 110 countries worldwide. Domestically, the races are broadcast on NBC, CBS, ABC and ESPN.

"This [is] a major development for the adult entertainment industry," SEI president Russ Herriott stated to AVN.com, "as it would be a featured sports marketing initiative for the industry, with the AVN brand and the brands of the other companies being displayed next to Fortune 500 companies that compete and participate in the series."

The idea for AVN Racing came about when Herriott visited the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE) during his trip to the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. SEI, a 15-year-old firm, consults corporations on utilizing professional auto racing as a marketing outlet, and Herriott saw the potential for adult to pursue that avenue.

"The sheer amount of fans that were there, the enthusiasm they had for meeting the stars, participating and looking at what that industry was about, kind of impressed me from the perspective that it was more exciting than the CES show," Herriott explained. "That got me thinking about the possibility for an AVN-sponsored team to go out and race in a international series to promote the adult entertainment industry."

Added AVN Media Network CEO Darren Roberts, "AVN Racing is a concept ready to hatch. This is an outrageous sponsorship opportunity for adult companies to extend their brands to both the U.S. and abroad. More important, it's a way for the studios to reach out to their fan base in much the same way that FedEx, Budweiser, Sprint and other top brands utilize NASCAR."

In addition to the actual car, the AVN Racing Booth at Erotica will offer AVN Racing apparel for sale, a host of adult starlets signing autographs and taking pictures, and appearances by rocker Dave Navarro, who will be there shooting video for his new internet show Spread Entertainment.

A webpage for AVN Racing is under development at avnracing.com.

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