The first offical time trials of the 2007 season are underway and the Champ Car World Series, North America's premiere open-wheel racing series is off to a blazing start.
Sporting a new chassis, a new logo, and having added six new venues (two of the venues in Europe) to a 17 race season, the Champ Car World Series (remnants of the old CART) looks to be set for one of the most exciting years yet.
Among the announcements that were made, PKV Racing principals Kevin Kalkhoven, who is a co-owner of the series, and Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 series champion, revealed its driver lineup of Neel Jani of Switzerland and Tristan Gommendy, who have both been racing in Europe.
Kalkhoven also said the Pay by Touch, a Silicon Valley high tech company, has joined PKVs list of sponsors. (I'll have more on this early next week)
Champ Car President Steve Johnson announced a partnership agreement with Mazda North American Operations. Mazda will become the official vehicle of the series, providing pace and safety cars and each will market the other to its customer base.
Champ Car also announced the television package with veteran broadcasters Rick Benjamin and Jan Beekhuis in the booth for TV coverage of the series on ABC/ESPN, which will carry all but three of the events. Two races will be seen on NBC and one on CBS. Frantz Cayo, director of motorsports for ESPN said the entire series would be carried on ESPN in 2008.
The opening two days of Champ Car's spring training were for Champ Car's driver development series. Today and Saturday, the Champ Cars take over the world-renowned 2.238-mile, 11-turn permanent road course on which they raced until 2004 when the series pulled out of Laguna Seca, opting to go with a street race in San Jose.
The Champ Car World Series enters a new era in 2007 with six new venues, a number of new drivers and the brand-new Panoz DP01 chassis.To go along with the new-look series, Champ Car today unveiled its new logo that will be featured prominently on the cars, the driver and official uniforms as well as the new-look television package.
The logo is a sleeker, racier design than that of the past, and features the new DP01 on the right side of the layout. The traditional Champ Car colors of orange, silver and black are featured, and the style of the logo includes a chicane-like quality that stylizes the road and street courses that make up the 2007 Champ Car schedule.
---- “This new logo portrays many of the things that makes Champ Car special and unique and does it in an effective and stylish manner,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “Having the DP01 in the logo is also a key for us, as it displays what Champ Car racing is all about.”The logo will begin to be displayed on the cars as early as tomorrow in the first of the year’s three open test session, which is taking place at Sebring International Raceway. Further tests will take place at MSR Houston in February and at Laguna Seca in March as teams prepare for the 2007 season opener, April 6-8 in Las Vegas.