LEXINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 13, 2000) - Building on its strategy to deliver more racing value to both fans and sponsors, Championship Auto Racing Teams' Franchise Board has approved significant changes for the 2001 race season regarding the amount of testing allowed its FedEx Championship Series teams, as well as increased Champ Car track time on race weekends.
The announcement was made by CART interim President and CEO Bobby Rahal prior to the start of Sunday's Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The new testing regulations eliminate in-season testing for Champ Car teams in 2001. In the off-season, a maximum of 20 test days will be allowed for a two-car team. Current rules provide 36 test days per season, of which 20 could be run in-season. A one-car team will be allowed 14 test days, a reduction from 24. Exceptions will be provided for special circumstances such as driver injuries, or special tire or engine tests, which will be managed under the direction of CART.
"Fans are at the core of our racing - they are what the sport is truly about," said Rahal. "These initiatives are designed to provide more track time that is meaningful for our fans, sponsors, manufacturers and teams. I credit our team owners for working together to make this happen.
"By doing this, it not only delivers more value to fans but it also reduces the wear and tear on all the people who make this happen every week - the race team crews and officials who are so important to CART and the FedEx Championship Series. With the increase to 22 races, reducing our testing schedule was an important step for CART and its race teams."
The testing window has been re-defined to start November 13 and conclude March 1, 2001, with blackouts for holiday seasons and specified events.
"Importantly, from a fan's perspective, we are expanding the amount of track time for the Champ Cars on each Friday," said Hal Whiteford, CART's President of Racing Operations. "The emphasis on development is reflected in the increase to four hours of Friday practice time and the elimination of Friday qualifying. The new rules move much of the important development work in front of the fans for the first time. We have also ensured schedules allow for the same diverse types of racing on CART weekends that our fans currently enjoy.
"Further details relative to our testing and practice rules will be developed by a working group commissioned by the owners," said Whiteford. "The clear emphasis is bringing more racing to our core clients, value to our constituents and to make the environment exciting, challenging but attractive to all of the special people who make our sport possible."
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