Superleague signs up yet another team
The passionate supporters of leading Brazilian football club Flamengo today got their first chance to see their colors adorn the V-12 powered, 750 horsepower single seater racing car that will represent them in the new Superleague Formula championship.
The new series will feature the world's leading football clubs doing battle on track – 20 high-tech racing cars fighting it out from August, 2008.
In a country renowned for its football and motor sport prowess, it seemed only natural that a Brazilian club would be represented in the championship. With an estimated 33 million supporters, 29 Rio de Janeiro State Championships, five Brazilian national titles and a World Club Championship victory to its credit – Flamengo was the obvious choice.
Flamengo's star line-up including captain Fabio Luciano plus leading players Ibson, Obina and Bruno saw the car for the first time today – the Superleague Formula car unveiled inside the club's official trophy room.
On Sunday, it will be the fan's turn – the Flamengo Superleague Formula car will be unveiled for the first time in front of 95,000 spectators at Estádio do Maracanã prior to Flamengo's final home game of the 2007 Brazilian Serie A Championship against Atlético Paranaense.
Flamengo joins leading European clubs AC Milan, FC Porto, PSV Eindhoven, Olympiacos, RSC Anderlecht, Borussia Dortmund, FC Basel and Galatasaray SK as the first teams onto the grid.
Marcio Braga – the club's President – believes the club's fans should enthusiastically embrace the new project.
"We are sure that our fans, who always give unique demonstrations of their unique passion for the club, will react the same way in such a special moment like this," Braga said.
After a challenging start in the 2007 season, when the club won only one of its first ten games, Flamengo has completed a storming finish to the year by running for a place in the 2008 Libertadores Cup.
Superleague Formula President and CEO Alex Andreu is eagerly awaiting Sunday's game where the largest ever crowd to see a Superleague Formula launch will be on hand.
Completed in 1950, Estádio do Maracanã hosted the 1950 FIFA World Cup Final. Although now an all-seater stadium with a capacity of 95,000, an official attendance world record was set at a game between Brazil and Paraguay in 1954 when 183,513 spectators entered the stadium with a ticket.
The famous venue has also played host to leading music acts including The Rolling Stones, Sting, Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney and Madonna as well as other major sporting events including the Pan American Games and a Harlem Globetrotters basketball match. Pope John Paul II presided at a rally of Catholic families from around the world at Maracanã in 1997.
"Estádio do Maracanã is a wonderful historic venue and we are delighted to present the Superleague Formula car to the Flamengo fans in such a brilliant and significant setting," Andreu said.
"Since announcing Flamengo's participation in August this year, we have been swamped with enquiries from Brazilian fans. Our website has had tens of thousands of visitors from Brazil and the country has clearly demonstrated an enormous passion for the Superleague Formula concept.
"We have no doubt this club is going to be one of the most fiercely supported in Superleague Formula. While plans for our debut season centre on six races in Europe – I am sure we are going to come under extreme pressure to bring the championship to Brazil in future years."
The Flamengo unveiling comes at a busy time for the Superleague Formula Championship. Following on from the Brazilian launch, the championship will unveil entries from RSC Anderlecht in Belgium and FC Basel in Switzerland in successive weeks.
Next year, Flamengo will join the other clubs battle on track at Donington Park (UK), August 29/30; Nurburgring (Germany), September 20/21; Zolder (Belgium), October 4/5; Italy – location TBA, October 18/19; Estoril (Portugal), November 1/2; and Jerez (Spain), November 22/23.
* subject to FIA confirmation.