DETROIT (February 8, 2001) - Championship Auto Racing Teams has notified the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that it has reserved its right to cancel the March 25 Rio 200, Round 2 of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series, after the city defaulted on certain conditions of its agreement with the Champ Car sanctioning body.
On Thursday, January 25, 2001, CART notified the city of Rio de Janeiro that it was in default of the city's agreement with CART. CART gave the city a 10-day "cure" period as required by the agreement, but the city failed to provide redress in the allotted time.
On Tuesday, February 6, 2001, after termination of the "cure" period, CART notified the city that it was taking steps to protect its rights, one of which could include canceling the event.
Emerson Fittipaldi, promoter of the Rio 200 and a former CART driving champion (1989), will travel to CART's suburban Detroit offices on Friday, February 9, 2001 to discuss possible options.
"The city of Rio de Janeiro has failed to meet the terms and conditions of its contract with CART," said CART President/CEO Joseph Heitzler. "CART has lived up to 100 percent of its obligations in an effort to go forward with this event. For the city of Rio de Janeiro to place CART, its fans and its Brazilian CART drivers in this position is most regrettable."
Championship Auto Racing Teams has conducted an annual event in Rio de Janeiro since 1996. The series' reigning champion, Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske, is Brazilian, as are 10 of the 31 drivers expected to compete for the 2001 FedEx Championship Series championship.