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DATE News (chronologically)
08/05/06
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Phoenix Champ Car race a go?  UPDATE #8 Judging by this website that is already live, the Arizona Grand Prix of Phoenix is expected to receive final approval for a Champ Car race on November 16-18, 2007.

06/06/06 Autosport.com reports that the 2007 Champ Car schedule will probably include a street race in Las Vegas as season-opener, a street race in downtown Phoenix as season-closer, and a race at Zhuhai, China around August.  However, AutoRacing1.com hears that Zhuhai, if it happens, will run the week before or after the Surfers race in October to save transportation costs.

05/09/06 Inside Champ Car sources tell us that 22 races for next year is unrealistic and to expect 16 to 17 races if there is no merger and around 20 races if there is a merger with the IRL. Financially the teams are not yet on solid financial footing to be able to afford too many races. We were told that races/events that are not performing financially will be axed and this will allow three new races to be added in 2007 (assuming no merger).

We are also hearing that Zhuhai is more impressive than first thought. The track has undergone renovations and now includes an 18-hole golf course. The area is tropical and very much has the feel of a Surfers Paradise and we hear the government is very supportive of this event coming together and are onboard with the 3-day festival concept. However, as we saw in Ansan, until the money is in the bank......Another good thing about Zhuhai is the fact that it is a "F1 standards" natural terrain road course and, as such, should "race" better than a street circuit.

05/08/06 AutoRacing1.com has learned that with or without the rumored merger, when Champ Car announces its 2007 race schedule it will include three new venues.  Based on recent rumors, that could be a Phoenix street race, a Las Vegas street race, and Zhuhai, China (outside of Hong Kong), and of course NY City, Philadelphia and Otaru, Japan are also possibilities.  We hear the schedule will be announced in August. Mark C.   

05/02/06 More from this Arizona Republic article - Champ Car World Series, the open wheel organization formerly known as CART, is making a strong bid to bring a road race to Phoenix in November 2007.

A source close to the promoters told The Republic that they are envisioning a five-year agreement with a five-year renewal option. He said promoters are hoping to reach agreement with the city in about 30 days, and during that time businesses and residents along the proposed race route would be notified.

"We are in negotiations with the city, and we are very interested in Phoenix," said Steve Johnson, president of Champ Car. "As a matter of fact, our officials are going to be out there this week to talk to people."

No specific date has been set, but it would seem likely that the race would be held either early or late in the month to avoid a conflict with PIR's NASCAR Nextel Cup Checker Auto Parts 500.

"We have had discussions with the promoter and are encouraged by what they propose," said Tom Callow, senior executive assistant to the city manager. "We have advised them of the community support we would like to see before we proceed any farther. They are working with property owners in the area the race would be held and will get back to us when they have solid support. We think this could be a good event if done right."

Mayor Phil Gordon said the race would be a private venture with no city subsidies, adding he was "excited about the possibility of bringing new national attention and new revenues to our city."

The new promoters, who are Valley-based, learned from that debacle.

"That was in the middle of June, when you don't do anything in Phoenix," the source said. "In November, the city is more populated, and the weather is lot more beneficial.

"The other main ingredient is that the promoters of this race are local people . . . not somebody who flies into town, takes the money and runs."

05/02/06 Look for Phoenix street race to possibly be the season ending race after Mexico City in 2007 as Champ Car wants to end their season in the USA.  "We are in negotiations with the city, and we are very interested in Phoenix," Champ Car President Steve Johnson told AZ Central. "As a matter of fact, our officials are going to be out there this week to talk to people."  Don't be surprised if the deal is concluded soon....recall we told you the deal was imminent in early April.

04/08/06 Rumor has it that the Champ Car Phoenix Grand Prix announcement on a 2.11-mile downtown street circuit is imminent with the first race slated for 2007. We await the formal announcement. Look for the race to be early or late in the season because the Phoenix heat is what ruined the Phoenix F1 race. Mark C.

04/07/06 Heard a rumor in the Champ Car paddock in Long Beach today that street races in both Phoenix and in Las Vegas are two of the potential new races Champ Car is looking at.  Champ Car is moving full steam ahead assuming a merger with the IRL won't happen.  If it does, all well and good, but if not Champ Car is still bullish on 2007 with their new car coming out.

04/07/06 Q and A with Champ Car President Steve Johnson:

Q: What are the long-term plans for Champ Car? Where do you see the series in five years; ten years?

A: We continue to climb. We need to be able to walk down that street and ask somebody, “Do you know who the Champ Car World Series is?” Many times, they’ll tell you “no.” If you were to show them a picture of a Champ Car, they’d say, “Oh yeah, I know that.” So we’ve got to make that connection between what I think is the greatest icon in racing (open-wheel) to our brand and our series. Five years from now, we could be on a 22-race schedule; we’re going to continue to improve our venues and improve our market so we’re in major markets. That’s been very important to our success and to our momentum. You’re not seeing us in secondary markets. We need to continue that growth and that expansion and make it easy for the fans to come out and experience the weekend, (not just) the race.

Q: What cities are you looking to expand to, either domestically or internationally, and when?

A: I don’t want to get into the exact cities, but I can tell you right now for next year, I’m in negotiations with four new cities, one of them is in China. We’ve made great progress in China. There’s a couple (U.S.) cities out West, there’s one in the East (U.S.). We’re not just having talks; some of these we’re in contract negotiations right now. Things look really, really good for us. Moving forward, we continue to get a lot of cities and countries coming to us, but we have to be very selective on who we pick because it’s got to fit the overall business model that we have and support our sponsors and our teams as well. The Daily

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