European firms looking to CART

THE popular ESPN auto racing show RPM Tonight reported last night that CART chief executive Chris Pook has been in Europe in recent days meeting with car manufacturers to discuss their involvement in the championship in the future. According to the respected journalist Robin Miller, formerly of the Indianapolis Star, there will be announcement at the weekend that a European car manufacturer has been signed up by CART. Miller speculated that the likely candidates are Audi, Porsche and Maserati.

The Audi rumors could well be true as the company has won just about everything in sportscar racing and is obviously keen on the United States market as witnessed by its presence in the American Le Mans Series. Porsche is possible but he company can hardly build cars fast enough for the demand at the moment, and so is not really in need of any marketing programs. Maserati may ultimately have ambitions in CART but it is not expected to have the budget available to do the job until after the planned Ferrari flotation goes ahead. Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo said recently that some of the money from the planned flotation would go to funding a Maserati sporting program and as the flotation is still not officially agreed it may be a little early for CART.

So, on balance, it looks like Audi is the most likely choice which will once and for all end all rumors suggesting that its parent company Volkswagen was planning to put the Ingolstadt marque into Formula 1.

We will see at the weekend...

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