Champ Cars - Tracy's title

Leaving aside a number of off-track troubles, the 2003 Champ Car World Series was all about one man: Paul Tracy, who finally claimed his first CART title after 12 years of trying

Champ Cars - Tracy's title

Following the lead of Penske, many of CART's long-established teams left the series for the rival IRL IndyCar Series over the winter, leaving the series depleted of several star names. An influx of new teams and drivers ensured reasonable grids, and although there wasn't as much depth as in previous years, the competition at the front was as intense as ever, with Bruno Junqueira, Michel Jourdain Jr and newcomer Sebastien Bourdais all challenging Tracy.

Driving for Forsythe Racing, Tracy stamped his authority on the season early, winning the first three events of the year. The Canadian added four more wins over the year, including emotional home victories in Toronto and Vancouver.

Despite his dominance, a number of mechanical dramas and incidents prevented Tracy from sealing the title until the penultimate round in Surfers Paradise - which became the season finale when the following race at Fontana was cancelled.

Junqueira, driving for the reigning champions Newman/Haas, established himself as Tracy's chief title rival. In contrast to Tracy, the Brazilian's title bid was built on a quiet, consistent approach, although he took two fine wins at Road America and Denver.

Mexican Jourdain Jr finally claimed his first CART win at Milwaukee, and was also in contention for the title for much of the season. Adrian Fernandez, Patrick Carpentier and Mario Dominguez all took races wins during the season.

Bourdais undoubtedly emerged as the class of a large crop of rookies. After a series of pole positions, the Frenchman took his first win in his fourth start at Brands Hatch, before taking his first oval victory the following week at Lausitz.

Briton Darren Manning was another rookie to impress, and was usually the fastest driver running the recalcitrant Reynard chassis. However, it was fellow newcomer Ryan Hunter-Reay who claimed Reynard's sole win of the season in a crash-filled wet race in Surfers Paradise.

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