FEBRUARY 18, 2004
CART sale is completed
The sale of the assets of Championship Auto Racing Teams is completed and the series will now be brought out of bankruptcy under the new ownership of Open Wheel Racing Series. The series - which will be called the Champ Car World Series will kick off on April 18 at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. OWRS hopes to have at least 18 cars and at least 15 races.
CART, which broke away from the US Auto Club in 1978, was the premier US racing series in the 1980s and 1990s but in 1996 the Indy Racing League was established and divided the teams and the fans. Most importantly, the IRL had the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of its package and this proved to be significant as many sponsorship deals in open-wheeler racing are dependent on that event. As a result CART struggled - although IRL did not do much better - and despite being floated in 1998, filed for bankruptcy last year, afters pending nearly $100m in one season to keep the series alive. Several teams survived onbly because of the money that came from CART.
It remains to be seen how many cars actually turn up for the first CART race while IRL will go to Miami at the end of this month with a full grid, consisting of many teams which used to be CART regulars.
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