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Champ Car announces historic race in Beijing, China

 March 23, 2005

"Rough" sketch of revised Goldenport track in Beijing, China

As part of the continuing effort to carry the excitement of the Champ Car World Series to new fans and markets both in the United States and around the world, the series announced today that it had reached an agreement to stage a race in Beijing, China in 2006.

Champ Car today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Beijing Auto and Motor Sports Association (BAMSA), clearing the way for the series to hold a race in Beijing. The inaugural event, which would be the first-ever Champ Car race to be held in China, would be part of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford calendar.

“This is a major step forward for the Champ Car World Series as we continue to establish our presence in the Asian markets,” said series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. “We believe these markets are fundamental to our Series growth and future success. Adding an exciting new event in China to go with races in Korea and Australia solidifies our presence in a very important region of the world.”

Champ Car President Dick Eidswick was on hand with Joe Chrnelich to make the huge announcement.  Does he look happy?

The agreement was signed with BAMSA, which is the government approved auto sports regulatory entity in Beijing that approves all racing events for Beijing. Today’s announcement of the MOU signing allows Champ Car and BAMSA to work together to decide upon a promoter and final location for the event.

Mr. Zhang Junyu, Secretary General of BAMSA said, “As the capital city of China and the hosting city of 2008 Olympics, Beijing has now become a city with economic prosperity and steady improvements, as well as the best market for automobile races. Beijing is not only a city with auto manufacturing plants and purchasing power, but also a city with the best and most professional racing teams, drivers, and fans in China. The city is now working towards becoming an international sports center and to hold world renowned auto races is an important part towards accomplishing that goal. Therefore, as the city’s auto race administration and organizer, BAMSA warmly welcomes the Champ Car World Series race scheduled to run in 2006 and we sincerely extend our best wishes for great future success of the race in Beijing for years to come.”

“We have several very qualified parties interested in securing the rights to this race. We expect to work very closely with BAMSA to make the proper selection,” said Joe Chrnelich, Executive Vice-President, Development, Government Affairs & Planning. “After our recent visits to Beijing, there is no doubt that Champ Car has found a new and exciting market for our expanding worldwide schedule. Both the Beijing Government and resident business entities are excited about the future prospects for a Champ Car event, especially given the worldwide marketing platform we provide. Beijing is a great city with a rapidly expanding infrastructure, a wealth of historic assets and a very bright future. We look forward to helping Beijing project this new and dynamic image on the worldwide stage. ”

Initial discussions indicate that the race could be held in either May or September of 2006, but a number of factors will play into the final determination of a race date.

“Today’s announcement is no doubt a historic day for the Champ Car World Series, but we are excited because it is about more than just a race,” Kalkhoven said. “The relationships forged through this process will benefit both sides tremendously. The warm reception we have received here could lead to even bigger things in the future, including the potential to bring Chinese drivers and teams into the series.” 

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