OWRS chief is optimistic

Kevin Kalkhoven, one third of the Open Wheel Racing Series group that is pitching to buy-out CART for 2004, is optimistic that the Champ Car World Series will not only survive, but will flourish in 2004

OWRS chief is optimistic

The series has been on the market for some six months, needing new owners and fresh investors following a period of political unease that has seen its cash float seriously depleted while sustaining the 2003 championship.

An initial plan to buy up the remaining shares was changed last week when OWRS (made up of Gerry Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi and Kalkhoven) offered to buy all the assets needed to make the 2004 series viable. And while no decision has been made yet, it is expected soon - possibly even by the end of this week.

"We wanted a clean sheet," said Kalkhoven, in London for Sunday's Autosport Awards. "That's really what we're trying to achieve here. We are proposing to buy all the assets necessary to run the 2004 season which is everything from the physical assets to the supplier contracts with Ford and Bridgestone; the contracts with the promoters and the circuits. Basically, everything that is necessary to run the series next year.

"There's no lack of commitment on our part," he continued. "In fact, I personally have guaranteed a large amount of money, if necessary, to keep CART running - independent of everything else - for the next 60 days."

While keeping the series alive is the priority, there are plans to increase the interest, adding in standing starts and 'push-to-pass' boost buttons to spice up the show.

"One of the things that truly amazed me in all this," continued Kalkhoven, "is not just the support of the fans, but the support of the teams. We have a huge amount of loyalty from people who want to turn right as well as left.

"Actually, the past few weeks have been...I would almost describe it as a touching situation. I have felt, occasionally, very emotional about the support the teams and the fans have given us. Because they realize this isn't exactly a situation that is anything other than, 'We want to go racing.'"

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