What about Argentina and Brazil? UPDATE #7 This rumor is being updated because of the talk about a possible Team Brazil Champ Car effort with Rocketsports. If it were to materialize it would in part be due to the fact that Belo Horizonte or Interlagos wants a Champ Car race. Recall the rumors that the F1 race could move to Rio de Janeiro. Mark C.
12/19/05 Belo Horizonte (a Portuguese name meaning beautiful horizon) is among the most important cities in Brazil. It is the capital of Minas Gerais state, located in the southeast of the country. With a population of slightly more than 2 million, Belo Horizonte — or "Beagá" as it is more familiarly known from the sound of its initials BH in Portuguese — is the third largest city in Brazil behind Sao Paulo and Rio.
If all goes to plan the track will be done in the spring of 2007. The artist rendering to the left shows what the main straight will look like. Initially plans are for 30,000 permanent seats with room for general admission seating around the 2.1-mile road course.
Initially the promoters are eyeing a Champ Car and a Brazilian Stock Car race. 12/14/05 One can only imagine what kind of driving talents the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil will produce from 2007 onwards, when it intends to open the gates to its first-ever, $20m race track.
As of now, as the country’s largest track-less metropolis, “BH” has given the racing world the likes of Cristiano da Matta, Bruno Junqueira and the newly-crowned 2005 Star Mazda series champion, Raphael Matos.
Hometown affinities aside, the 24-year-old - who also won the Formula Dodge national title in ‘03 - seems on the right path to join his countrymen in the Champ Car World Series in the near future: Matos was confirmed this week to lead Sierra Sierra Enterprises’ return to the revamped Atlantic series in 2006.
And with the Belo Horizonte circuit officials stating last month that getting Champ Car back to Brazil in 2007 is their top priority, Matos already has a fairytale scenario to dream of two seasons from now... SPEEDTV.com 07/09/05 Latest word here in Toronto is that although you won't see an Argentina and/or Brazil race on the 2006 Champ Car schedule when it is released at the beginning of August, we could see one or both added at some point. The same goes for Houston or Philadelphia. Expect to see 15 races announced with more possibly added later. Mark C.
06/03/05 We hear that although nothing is close yet for a Champ Car race in Brazil in 2006, for the first time in a long time all the right people are now talking about it so the possibility exists a race could happen, but there are upgrades needed for Interlagos, not only for Champ Car, but also F1. Who pays is always the issue.
05/15/05 The publication "IstoÉ Dinheiro" (This Is Business), the 'Financial Times' in Brazil has a report about Champ Car. The title was F-Business. Some highlights:
05/02/05 We asked one of our sources in Brazil what they thought the prospects would be of a Champ Car race in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The answer we got was this - They definitely have the population base to draw upon and they are also very passionate about their motorsports. It is very similar to Mexico City so if the right promoter is behind it, it can certainly be a success.
- "Champ Car is a $3 billion/year business but it's not yet profitable"
- "Champ Car hopes to make a profit for 2005"
- "I think that more Brazilian sponsors will appear in Champ Car" said Fernando Paiva from Lit Entertainment, a sport marketing company.
- "A race in Brazil is rumored run next year and some new Brazilian drivers are expected to run next year" Filipe Melo reporting from Brazil
With the weakened US dollar, it makes the US series and the sanctioning fees more affordable. While there is a large population that makes next to nothing, there are enough businesses and wealthy people in Sao Paulo that filling the stands should not be a problem. The biggest problem with Rio de Janeiro, outside of the change in government, is that its demographics didn't support the cost of a high-tech series as well as Sao Paulo would.
The politics will be a major hurdle. You have to make sure you back the right people and then, you are only guaranteed support until the next election. I don't think Champ Car has enough pull to make a significant difference to a city the size of Sao Paulo so it will be up to the promoter to assume the costs and risks associated with the event. A smaller venue would have the benefit of having a greater impact on its economy and thus support from the local government.
10/25/04 Celso Itibere, a respected auto racing columnist at the 'O Globo' newspaper, the biggest Brazilian newspaper, and also a Champ Car commentator on Rede TV, the network that broadcasts the races in Brazil, has this to say in this O Globo article, (rough translation) "Next year, the Interlagos circuit will host, in September, the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix, and, possibly three weeks later, another important race: the Brazilian Champ Car Grand Prix". "The American series, which will also have Cristiano da Matta, who is almost sure to race with Newman-Haas, is also negotiating for a race in Buenos Aires, one week before or after the Brazilian race"