Delphi Corp. Extends Title Sponsorship of Indy Racing League Event
JOLIET, Ill., June 27 -- After a successful sold-out first season and only a matter of days until the announcement of a second sold out season, Chicagoland Speedway and Delphi Corp. have announced an extension for the title rights to the Indy Racing League event in September. The deal will continue the entitlement of the Delphi Indy 300 through the 2003 season, expanding the partnership to a total of three years. Other specifics of the deal were not released.
"The extension of our partnership with Delphi for the Indy Racing League event at Chicagoland Speedway speaks volumes about our facility and the overwhelming support of the race fans in the Chicago Metropolitan area for the IRL brand of open wheel racing," said Joie Chitwood III, vice president and general manager. "The Indy Racing League put on a great show during the Inaugural Delphi Indy 300. To sit in a world-class facility and witness two and three wide racing at speeds over 215 mph is unbelievable, and that is what the race fans and motorsports marketing partners in this area are looking for."
"Our sponsorship of the Delphi Indy 300 not only stresses our belief in motorsports as a proving ground for future Delphi innovations, it also is a valuable opportunity to build the Delphi brand," said William A. Lafontaine, director of marketing and customer development for Delphi.
Delphi has been involved in open-wheel racing since 1988. Earlier this year the company announced it would extend its sponsorship of Kelley Racing Team's driver Scott Sharp and the #8 car through 2005. Sharp won his seventh career title this year when he took the checkered flag at Firestone Indy 225 at the Nazareth Speedway. He is the only IRL driver to win at least one race in each season since the inception of the series.
The excitement that surrounds the Indy Racing League in the Chicago area is evident with the strong sale of the popular Track Pack ticket plan and the move of the year ending League Championship Celebration to downtown Chicago in October. Compared to this same time last year, Track Packs are selling far above the sell-out pace of the inaugural 2001 season and will only be days before another sold out season.
In 2002 the Indy Racing League boasts;
Strongest television viewership in open wheel racing
The IRL continues to post the strongest television viewership in open wheel racing. To date, average television households per IRL event approximate 1.6 million -- almost 150% higher than that of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Racing Series. Closest competition in open-wheel racing
The IRL this year has averaged 14 lead changes per race, more than twice as many as CART. Three of the five races which did not finish under caution (two finished under caution) have had a difference between first and second place of less than 0.5 of a second. The average winning margin for the IRL is 0.82 of a second compared to the CART 2002 average of 5.8 seconds. Impressive racing field
Through the first six races of the 2002 IRL season, the average starting field size is 26 cars per event, the highest in open-wheel racing. Drivers featured in the series include two-time Indy 500 winners Helio Castroneves and Al Unser Jr., 2001 IRL Points Champion San Hornish Jr. and Sarah Fisher, the youngest driver in IRL history when making her debut at age 19 in 1999. Delphi is the official electronics provider to the IRL, today a majority of IRL racecars are equipped with several of Delphi's products including:
Gen IV Engine Control Module (ECM) - Delphi's fourth-generation ECM helps bring to racecars a new level of sophistication in engine controls with enhancements over the previous model, including a feature that automatically limits the speed of the racecar when traveling through racecourse pits. Other improvements include a faster, 32-bit microprocessor (giving better and faster data to engineers monitoring the engine's performance) and higher-level software programming language that makes it easier for future improvements to be implemented. Delphi is currently supplying more than 90 percent of IRL cars with the Gen IV ECM.
Accident Data Recorder (ADR2) - senses and records key vehicle parameters at 1000 samples per second just prior to, during, and after an accident- triggering event.
Coil Driver Module - when commanded by the Gen IV ECM, this unit precisely supplies more than 360 volts to the coils of each of the eight spark plugs and eliminates the need for a mechanical distributor.
Track Condition Radio - alerts drivers with critical information by transmitting messages from race control to the racecar. A dash-mounted display communicates messages including safety warnings, track condition and pits opened/closed.
Radio Telemetry Module - transmits engine and chassis data from a speeding racecar to race team engineers located in the pits. The telemetry module helps enhance driver safety and race team strategy by making real-time data available.
Multec® Bottom Feed Methanol Electronic Fuel Injector - provides a high flow rate and a low profile package that is ideal for port fuel racing applications. The injector is able to operate at high temperatures and provide a high level of spray atomization.
Connectors, Cables and Terminals - Connectors are coupling devices that provide an electrical and mechanical connection/disconnection in a system. Cables are insulated electrical conductors. Terminals are devices attached to the end of a wire to facilitate electrical connections. All of these Delphi components enable a vehicle's electrical/electronic system to function under the tough conditions in racing.
For more information about Delphi Corp. and its involvement in racing, please visit Delphi's Virtual Press Room at www.delphi.com/media .
For more information about the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway or to purchase your Track Pack, call 815-727-RACE (7223) or check out the website at www.chicagolandspeedway.com .