Champ Car and Europe

UPDATE A reader writes, In response to the Champ Car and Europe rumor, I hope Champ Car continues to try to return to Europe. If Champ Car is going to become a true international racing series they must have a presence in Europe. I find it hard to believe that with all the great racing venues in Europe, Champ Car could not put together at least two successful (and profitable) events in the next two years. Europe is a major world market and not having a presence there will cost the series in the long run. NASCAR controls a large part of the motorsports marketing dollars in the U.S. and Champ Car needs to court as many non-NASCAR markets as possible to bring more money into the series. This should also help to greatly improve international TV ratings which brings more value to Champ Car sponsors. The past has shown that Champ Car can run events in Europe and not step on Bernie's shoes. Also, if they want to promote the idea of national teams how can you ignore Europe? How many drivers from Europe currently have Champ Car rides (plus the ones still trying) ? Champ Car needs Europe along with Asia, South America, and North America to become a true international motorsports powerhouse. Name Withheld The Champ Car races in Europe were big money losers. In order for Champ Car events to do well in Europe, there must be a big enough attendance and corporate sponsorship. If Champ Car brings in drivers from Northern Europe and the interest in the series builds in the next few years, then perhaps a return may be in the cards, not before. Mark C. 03/28/05 Kevin Kalkhoven recently said that Champ Car is not pursuing any races in Europe for the immediate future. However, it is curious that three drivers from the northern reaches of Europe – Jos Verstappen (Netherlands), Bjorn Wirdheim (Sweden) and Ronnie Bremer (Denmark) are all possible drivers in Champ Car in 2005. Meanwhile many Mexicans and Canadians (like Michael Valiante who should be in Champ Car) wait on the sidelines. None of these northern European countries have a F1 race either, and with the world demand, it's very unlikely they will for a decade or more. In steps Champ Car. Can the plan be to develop a fan following with drivers from northern Europe and then in a year or two add a race in one of those countries? Makes perfect sense and might explain the recent interest from northern European drivers. A race in the Netherlands would be the most likely early prospect given tracks like Zandvoort and Assen.

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