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FIA GT Sports Cars are Coming Back - Laguna Seca Raceway

19 March 1998

MONTEREY, California- The finale of the world's most prestigious GT sports car racing series, the 1998 FIA GT Championship, will be the feature race of the Visa Sports Car Championships presented by Honda at Laguna Seca Raceway on the weekend of October 23-25. On the Saturday before, October 17, in Florida, the ninth round of the ten round championship will be held at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex.

Brian Skuza, Vice President and General Manager of Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, and John Stornetta, General Manager of Laguna Seca Raceway, made the announcement jointly today in Homestead.

"This is exciting," said Stornetta. "Laguna Seca Raceway's heritage is sports car racing. Our FIA GT Championship race last October was phenomenal. People are still raving about it. They have been calling us for months to find out if there will be one this year. It's great to tell them the news." As in 1997, the FIA GT Championship race this year caps a Laguna Seca Raceway season that includes a FedEx Championship Series race, an AMA National Superbike Championship race, the 25th annual Monterey Historic Automobile Races, and the only round of the World Superbike Championship in the Western Hemisphere.

"We are extremely happy to host one of the world's premier racing events at our facility," said Skuza. "The addition of the FIA GT Championship race really complements our 1998 racing schedule. In hosting the CART season opener, two NASCAR events and a USRRC event this year, we think our diversified schedule offers something for every motorsports fan. Racing is truly an international sport and both Penske Motorsports and ISC are proud to play an active role in growing the sport worldwide."

The return of the FIA GT sports cars to America is the result of the efforts of Penske Motorsports in cooperation with Laguna Seca Raceway. The series made its first appearance in the USA last year, when Germany's Bernd Schneider won the FIA GT Championship title at Laguna Seca Raceway.

The FIA GT Championship is an international series for teams fielded or backed by the world's leading sports car manufacturers. As of March 1, 18 teams had entered 30 of the extremely powerful, exotic GT sports cars for the championship, cars such as the Porsche 911 GT1, Porsche 911 GT2, McLaren F1 GTR, Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR, Bitter GT1, Dodge Viper GTS-R, Marcos LM600, Saleen Mustang and Panoz GTR from Georgia based Panoz Motorsports. The total is expected to grow by the season-opening race in April.

Advance sale tickets for the Visa Sports Car Championships will be available starting March 30. The phone number for Laguna Seca Raceway event and ticket information is 1-800-327-SECA (7322).

The FIA GT Championship schedule currently includes 10 races:

April 12		Oschersleben, Germany
May 17			Silverstone, England
June 28		Hockenheim, Germany
July 5			Dijon, France
July 19		Hungaroring, Hungary
August 23		Suzuka, Japan
September 6		Donington Park, England
September 20		A1-Ring, Austria
October 17		Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, Florida
October 25		Visa Sports Car Championships presented by Honda
			at Laguna Seca Raceway, Monterey,
California

For further media information, please contact Walt Stannard at Laguna Seca Raceway or Jay Lucas, Penske Motorsports at 909-429-5200.