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Latest News and Commentary

CART and ALMS announce big Miami race weekend

March 5, 2002

MIAMI, Fla. (March 5, 2002) – Setting the stage for the first super weekend of road racing in one of North America’s premier international cities, officials from Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART) the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Raceworks, LLC jointly announced today that the previously announced Grand Prix of the Americas will be run on Oct. 4 – 6 on an all-new circuit through the streets of downtown Miami.

The Grand Prix of the Americas is being packaged and promoted as a rare, “dual-headline” event, with the ALMS occupying center stage on Saturday and the CART FedEx Championship Series taking the spotlight on Sunday. With the CART FedEx Championship Series joining the American Le Mans Series, the Grand Prix of the Americas will now feature the two premier road racing series in North America. The added presence of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup and the possible addition of other racing series will make the Grand Prix of the Americas one of the foremost motorsports weekends on the entire 2002 racing calendar.

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The Grand Prix of the Americas was originally scheduled for April 5 – 7, but race organizers and the respective motor racing series agreed to move the event in order to accommodate the FedEx Championship Series schedule.

Sports car racing and Miami have a long history together. Among the drivers who have won sports car events in Miami are Juan Manuel Fangio II, Tom Kendall, Al Holbert, PJ Jones, Derek Bell, and Paul Gentilozzi. Also - in conjunction with the 1994 IMSA event on the streets of downtown Miami - 1999 CART FedEx Championship Series champion Juan Pablo Montoya emerged victorious from the Barber Saab Pro Series support event.

CART also has a long history of racing in the Miami area, having staged events at Tamiami Park from 1985-88, a race on the streets of downtown Miami in 1995, and annual events at nearby Homestead-Miami Speedway from the 1996 through 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series seasons. Drivers who have emerged victorious from previous events in South Florida include CART FedEx Championship Series champions Danny Sullivan, Al Unser Jr., Michael Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve, and Jimmy Vasser.

“One of the most successful events in CART history was the lone race on the streets of downtown Miami in 1995,” said CART President and CEO, Christopher R. Pook. “The event was promoted fabulously and the fans came out in droves. CART has a tremendous fan base in Miami, and these fans have been asking us to come back to South Florida constantly since we last raced there two years ago. It is for precisely these reasons that we worked very hard to return to Miami this season. We are also extremely grateful to our friends at ALMS for moving their race date and allowing us to become a part of the race weekend in October. This event is sure to be one of the most anticipated of the season, and I firmly believe it will be successful in 2002 and for many years to come.”

“This is a historic day for both the motorsports industry and the city of Miami,” said Raceworks President Peter Yanowitch. “We're all very excited to bring North America's two premier road racing series, CART and ALMS, together for one mega weekend of racing. The fans of South Florida will be in for a unique weekend featuring tremendous motorsports competition on the track, as well as some exciting entertainment elements as well."

The expanded Grand Prix of the Americas racing line-up is the first in history to pair the top open-wheel category of racing with the premier sports car championship on the same weekend. Although the annual FedEx Championship Series title is contested on a variety of oval and permanent and temporary road courses, CART Champ Car racing has been the motorsports leader in open-wheel road racing for more than two decades. The ALMS series, sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), has emerged over the last several years as the leader in North American sports car competition, featuring many of the same teams and drivers that compete in the annual 24 Hours of Le Mans classic run each year in France.

“Miami is the perfect city for this historic first pairing of CART and the American Le Mans Series,” said Scott Atherton, President and COO of the Panoz Motor Sports Group. "The return of racing to the streets of Miami has generated a large international buzz since the time it was announced, and today's announcement will only bring this event even more into the motorsports forefront.”

While the weekend will mark the first time that CART and the ALMS have raced together, the Trans-Am Series has participated in many successful CART FedEx Championship Series race weekends for several years. Now entering its 37th year of competition, the Trans-Am Series has a loyal following and the Trans-Am event in Miami figures to provide another highlight to the weekend.

The American Le Mans Series is a series of sports car endurance races based on the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. The series will hold 10 events at premier permanent road racing facilities and key major market temporary circuits in North America during the 2002 season, with all televised live by either CBS, NBC Sports or the SPEED Channel. The series is heavily supported by auto manufacturers such as Audi, General Motors (Cadillac and Corvette), Saleen, Panoz and Porsche, with participation by Ascari, Dodge, Ferrari, Mazda and others.

The Trans-Am Series, sanctioned by Englewood, Colorado-based Sports Car Club of America Pro Racing, is the longest-running road racing series in North America, entering its 37th year of competition in 2002. Defending and three-time series champion Paul Gentilozzi will be looking to claim his fourth title against a strong field of rivals including Johnny Miller, Brian Simo, Tommy Archer and Rookie of the Year Justin Bell. Three of the Trans-Am’s mid-season events will be televised nationally by CBS Sports, while the others will be carried by SPEED Channel on either a live or tape-delayed basis. All Trans-Am drivers compete for the prestigious BFGoodrich Tires Cup, emblematic of the series title.

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