Premier 1 confirms million dollar race purse

A one million dollar purse for each of their two race meetings on the international calendar was promised by the organizers of Premier 1 grand prix, motor racing's ambitious bid to market top level motorsport together with major league soccer clubs.

So far the formula has gained support from Benfica and Leeds with three more European clubs expected to be announced in the next few days.

The new series which kicks off next summer is being touted by many as a possible rival to the formula one world championship, although competing teams will not build their own cars and run identical 4-liter V10-engined Reynards specially built for the category.

Each meeting will consist of two races split by a half time break with the winner earning $250,000 per event and drivers will also benefit from 33 per cent of the merchandising income derived from their names.

The Premier 1 racing series is hoping to sign up Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Mark Blundell and Johnny Herbert and says that it will announce deals with more soccer teams in the days ahead.

The start-up costs of the new formula are estimated to be around $180m and it is expected to start making money after the its third season. As yet there is no television deal finalized, but the promoters are discussing with EBU plans for a contract to cover all the races.

Motorsport's governing body, the FIA, has given provisional approval for the series which is expected to be confirmed early next year when the first completed cars are inspected.

Provisional 2002 calendar: 14 July, Portugal (Estoril); 4 August, Germany (Lausitzring); 11 August, France (Dijon-Prenois); 25 August, Britain (Donington Park); 8 September, Holland (Zandvoort); 29 September, Czechosolvakia (Brno); 6 October, Italy (Misano); 20 October, Spain (Valencia); 3 November, Argentina (Buenos Aires); 10 November, Brazil (Rio de Janeiro).

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