Open Wheel reaffirms Champ Car commitment

Open Wheel Racing Series yesterday reasserted that the Champ Car World Series would continue in 2004 under OWRS management, and revealed that it had appointed Richard P. Eidswick as the CEO overseeing the "transition" of Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. OWRS added that it had "reached" contracts with promoters, teams and sponsors, including those engaged in the Toyota Atlantic 'feeder' series

Open Wheel reaffirms Champ Car commitment

"Effective immediately, we're ready to begin work to implement our vision for Champ Car in 2004 and for many seasons beyond," said OWRS partner Paul Gentilozzi.

Earlier this month, OWRS withdrew its offer to buy the outstanding stock of CART for approximately US$5m when it became clear that a condition of the offer (stipulating that there would be as many teams in 2004 as in the past season) would not be fulfilled. OWRS proposed an alternative strategy whereby CART would apply for protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy conditions, and it would acquire those assets that it requires to operate the series. Instead of shareholder approval, OWRS now needs only the consent of the bankruptcy court.

Gentilozzi continued: "Our purchase was with the express intent of supporting our teams and sponsors competing now and in the future. Therefore, as a show of strength and good faith, Open Wheel has accepted the liability of almost $2.7m in 2003 prize monies which we will pay to our teams that elect to participate in the 2004 Champ Car season.

"There has been a great deal of speculation about car count for next year. We talk to our teams on a daily basis and we're more than confident that we'll have a full field of cars in 2004. In addition, we anticipate new team and driver announcements in the very near future."

Following the postponement of the street race in St Petersburg, FL, the new season is scheduled to begin in Long Beach, CA, on April 18.

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