San Jose track unveiled

The inaugural San Jose Champ Car Grand Prix has been officially launched at a media event in the Californian city

San Jose track unveiled

1996 series champion Jimmy Vasser drove his PKV Racing Lola through a banner to promote the race, which organisers hope will attract a crowd of around 100,000 to San Jose.

The final track layout was unveiled at the launch. The 1.4-mile circuit includes a long back straight leading into a tight corner - which will hopefully encourage overtaking and close racing. Some of the recent additions to Champ Car's street track roster have been criticised for their tight and narrow nature, notably the now disused Miami track, but it is hoped that the San Jose track will be more reminiscent of popular layouts such as Long Beach and Toronto. A week long festival of events will be held prior to the race, round eight of the 2005 Champ Car World Series, which is scheduled for 31 July.

San Jose's arrival on the schedule is likely to mean that Champ Car will no longer visit the nearby Laguna Seca road course. Although Laguna had played host to some of the championship's greatest races and was popular with drivers, crowd figures at the track had dwindled, whereas Champ Car's urban street races remained well attended even during the series' tumultuous recent history. There are still some spaces available on the 2005 schedule, but Laguna is unlikely to be chosen to fill any of the gaps given San Jose's proximity.

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