CART Joins IMG as Co-Promoter of the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland
©2002 SpeedCenter Publishing

Partnership CART's First With an Existing Race

CLEVELAND, Ohio (February 28, 2002) - Launching a new way of doing business that will see CART co-promote new and existing race weekend events, representatives of CART and IMG announced today a partnership to co-promote the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar, CART's oldest temporary circuit event and a premier race on the FedEx Championship Series schedule.

The announcement was made at City Hall at the office of Cleveland Mayor Jane L. Campbell who participated in the press conference along with Italian CART FedEx Championship Series driver Max Papis, a five time participant in the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland.

Although CART has sanctioned the Cleveland Grand Prix since its inception in 1982, this is the first time CART has taken a significant financial stake in the race or any other current event on the annual FedEx Championship Series calendar. Last year, CART announced a cooperative relationship for a new Grand Prix race in Denver that will debut this Labor Day weekend, but the Cleveland promotional partnership is the first such relationship with an existing event.

"As we move forward with CART's business plan, a key goal will be the co-promotion of our own FedEx Championship Series race events with some of our valued promoter partners," said CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. "After we made the decision to pursue this new way of doing business, we quickly determined that the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland and IMG were an ideal fit. This race personifies what CART is all about and we are grateful to IMG for allowing us to invest in this event in addition to the outstanding cooperation we have had from Mayor Campbell and the City of Cleveland. The Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland is preparing for its third decade of operation but from our point of view it is only the beginning."

Operators of the Grand Prix since 1993, Cleveland-based IMG will continue in the same capacity in the new relationship with CART.

"The business of racing has changed significantly since IMG bought this event nearly 10 years ago," said Grand Prix President Bud Stanner. "We constantly challenge ourselves to stay ahead of the curve and operate our business in the most efficient and fan friendly way possible. When Chris Pook and CART approached us with the thought of taking an active role in our event, we gladly agreed. Today, Chris is the CEO of CART, but he continues to be one of the best event promoters in the business based on his incredible success with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. His event experience and the resources that CART provides will only make a strong event stronger."

Papis, 33, is in his seventh year of CART FedEx Championship Series competition in 2002 and has competed in the Marconi Grand Prix the last five years. The native of Como, Italy who now lives in Miami is in his first season with Sigma Autosport and will drive the #22 Sigma Autosport Ford Lola this season. Next weekend's season opening Tecate/Telmex Monterey Grand Prix will mark his 100th career CART Champ Car race start.

"I have been very impressed with some of the changes I have seen from CART over the last month and this new relationship with Cleveland should make a great event even better," said Papis. "The Cleveland track design gives us much room to race and when you combine this with CART's new rules to make our races better shows and more exciting, we should have a very good race this year. I look forward to it."

Among the competition rule changes recently adopted by CART are several competition enhancements that are intended to produce more exciting races. These regulations are intended to create less full course caution periods, green flag finishes and the end of fuel-conscious economy runs.

The Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar, July 14, is round nine of 19 on the 2002 FedEx Championship Series schedule. The race will be broadcast live on CBS at 1:30 p.m.

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