Champ Car

Champ Car
Champ Car
Category Single seaters
Country or region International
Inaugural season 1979 (as CART)
2004 (as Champ Car)
Folded 2008
Engine suppliers Cosworth
Last Drivers' champion France Sébastien Bourdais (2007)
Last Constructors' champion United States Panoz (2007)

Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race. Such racing has also been sanctioned by the American Automobile Association, the United States Auto Club (USAC), the Sports Car Club of America, the Championship Racing League, and the Indy Racing League (IRL).

In its most popular usage, "Champ Car" was the last name given to a governing body formerly known as Championship Auto Racing Teams, or CART, founded in 1979 by team owners who disagreed with the USAC. At the height of the popularity of the series in 1992, it was known as the PPG Indy Car World Series until the split with the Indy Racing League in 1996. Thereafter, it was known as the CART FedEx Championship Series until 2003, when it was known as Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford. CART went bankrupt at the end of the 2003 season. A trio of CART team owners purchased the assets of the sanctioning body and renamed it as Champ Car Open Wheel Racing Series, later renaming it to Champ Car World Series (CCWS) LLC. Continuing financial difficulties caused CCWS to file for bankruptcy before its planned 2008 season; its assets were merged into the IRL's IndyCar Series, reuniting both series of American championship open-wheel racing.



Nigel Mansell racing in CART in 1993

In 1905 the American Automobile Association (AAA) established the national driving championship and became the first sanctioning body for auto racing in the U. S. A.; the AAA ceased sanctioning auto racing in the general outrage over motor racing safety that followed the 1955 Le Mans disaster. In response, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony Hulman formed the United States Auto Club (USAC) to take over the sanctioning of what it called "championship" auto racing. USAC controlled the championship until 1978, when a split between USAC and some of its car owners prompted the formation of the rival CART series.

Formation of CART

Logo, 1997–2002

The split from USAC was spurred by a group of activist car owners who had grown disenchanted with what they saw as an inept sanctioning body. Complaining of poor promotion and small purses, this group coalesced around Dan Gurney who, in early 1978, wrote what came to be known as the "Gurney White Paper", the blueprint for an organization called Championship Auto Racing Teams.[1] Gurney took his inspiration from the improvements Bernie Ecclestone had forced on Formula One (F1) with his creation of the Formula One Constructors Association. The White Paper called for the owners to form CART as an advocacy group to promote USAC's national championship, doing the job where the sanctioning body would not. The group would also work to negotiate television rights and race purses, and ideally hold seats on USAC's governing body.

Gurney, joined by other leading team owners such Carl Hogan, Roger Penske, and U.E. "Pat" Patrick, took their requests, which included larger representation on the USAC Board of Directors, to USAC's Board, but the proposal was rejected in November 1978. USAC's rejection of the proposal led the owners to form a new series (CART) in late 1978 under the principles laid out in the Gurney White Paper, with the first race being held in March 1979.

The newness of the organization, however, prevented it from being recognized by ACCUS, the United States representative to the FIA. An arrangement was reached with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) where the SCCA would act as the sanctioning body for the new series. This would allow the events to be listed on the International Motorsports Calendar.

The new series quickly gained the support of the majority of team and track owners, with the only notable holdout being A.J. Foyt. This meant that the front and mid-pack teams would be racing in the new CART series. Of the 20 races held in 1979, 13 were part of the 1979 CART Championship. Of the 10 tracks to host races, 5 would host CART events exclusively and one, Ontario Motor Speedway, would host races from both series. By 1982, the CART series was almost universally recognized as the American national championship.

International Drivers in the 1990s

CART, like its predecessor USAC, was dominated by North American drivers until the 1990s. Many road racing stars, including Mario Andretti, Bobby Rahal, and Danny Sullivan found success in the series. After former F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi won the series title in 1989, however, additional drivers from South America and Europe joined the series.

British driver Nigel Mansell, the 1992 F1 Driver's Champion, switched to CART in 1993 and beat Emerson Fittipaldi for the championship. Former F1 driver Alex Zanardi, who was much less accomplished than Mansell or Fittipaldi in F1, dominated the 1997 and 1998 seasons. His teammate Jimmy Vasser, who won the 1996 championship, was the last American series champion.

During this time, CART found success in street races, taking over the Detroit Grand Prix and the Long Beach Grand Prix from Formula One, as well as having success in venues like Miami, Toronto, Vancouver, Cleveland, and Surfer's Paradise. They also founded the first full-time driver safety team that traveled with the series, instead of depending on local staff provided by promoters.

Formation of the Indy Racing League

Criticism of CART built up in the 1980s, led by Andy Kenopensky, who emerged as the leading critic of the body with often-confrontational discussions over the body's rules and officiating; he led owners meetings that became acrimonious, notably in 1989 in a pair of meetings at Michigan International Speedway and Pocono International Raceway when he shouted down several drivers lobbying for expensive changes to the cars, changes he felt benefited only wealthy owners like Roger Penske.

In 1991, Tony George, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, approached the CART board of directors, proposing a new board consisting of representatives of the series' tracks, team owners and suppliers. Rebuffed by some members of the CART board, George took a non-voting position on the CART board.

George later expressed his concerns (similar to Kenopensky's) about restrictive engine leases and capricious rule enforcements (e.g. the banning of the carbon fiber tub introduced by March in 1990, ostensibly for safety reasons, until the two CART native chassis manufacturers - Penske and Lola - could catch up), and the lack of American drivers in the series (there were only 10 in 1996), a lack of opportunities for American drivers such as Jeff Gordon, CART's move to include more road racing on the schedule, and escalating costs.

George also wanted a greater voice for the Indianapolis 500, held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Although it was clearly CART's flagship event, the Indy 500 was treated as any other race on the schedule, and also awarded the same amount of driver's points.

George resigned from the CART Board of Directors and formed a new racing series, the Indy Racing League (IRL), in 1994 using the building blocks of the Indy 500 / USAC faction as its foundation. With its first race in 1996, the IRL initially included an all-oval schedule, all races on US soil, and mostly American drivers. George all but shut out CART regulars from the 500 by guaranteeing the top 25 drivers in IRL points a spot in the race, leaving only eight of the thirty-three grid positions available to CART regulars. This was known as the "25/8 Rule."

The contrast between the CART teams at Miami versus the IRL teams at Orlando that weekend was stark. Most of the IRL equipment and drivers were considered cast-offs from CART. By contrast, CART featured 4 engine manufacturers, 4 chassis manufacturers, 2 tire companies, large crowds, 28 cars, and large sponsorships; but the Miami field also displayed a fateful weakness - it was excessively expensive to race, far more so than the IRL field, and thus only illustrated the contrast Tony George wanted - a series with drivers who wanted to race as opposed to what amounted to a personal series for rich car owners.

In March 1996, CART filed a lawsuit against the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an effort to protect their license to the IndyCar mark which the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had attempted to terminate. In April, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway filed a countersuit against CART to prevent them from further use of the mark. Eventually a settlement was reached in which CART agreed to give up the use of the IndyCar mark following the 1996 season and the IRL could not use the name before the end of the 2002 season.

In response, CART attempted to create a rival showcase event, the U.S. 500, at Michigan International Speedway on the same day as the Indy 500 in 1996. The race failed to attract network TV coverage, and substantial promotional efforts were required to fill the estimated 80,000 seats at MIS. The race had a disastrous start with a ten-car crash involving many of the cars; further hurting CART's credibility, the teams were allowed to hastily bring out backup cars even though they had already crashed out of the race. The race date was changed for 1997 so it did not run against the Indy 500. The U.S. 500 name was, however, retained through 1999, and affixed to the existing July race at Michigan.

CART's next strategy was to hold a race the day before the Indy 500 at Gateway, which also failed to draw attention away from the IRL's most famous race. Tony George's next move was to specify new technical rules for less expensive cars, and "production based" engines that outlawed the CART-spec cars that had been the mainstay of the races since the late 1970s. CART teams would be forced to purchase different cars if they wanted the chance to qualify for the Indy 500.

From 1997 to 1999, no CART teams and drivers competed in the Indy 500. This allowed many American drivers to participate in an event that they might otherwise have been unable to afford, but the bitterness of the turbulent political situation, along with the absence of many of the "top" CART drivers, big-name sponsors, and faster CART-spec cars cast a shadow over the race. It was certainly arguable that to the average fan, the replacement of at least fairly well known foreign drivers by almost-unknown American ones was not perceived as a real gain. But the entry of American drivers, who had more-identifiable local fan bases, made the change a long-term positive for the race as well as the series.

In 1998, following a highly competitive IRL 300-miler at Texas won by Billy Boat, CART mandated the Hanford wing to its superspeedway cars; the goal was to increase drag and return a drafting effect similar to NASCAR and similar to what IRL had achieved with its use of bulkier car bodies.

CART after the formation of the IRL

In the early years after the launch of the IRL in 1996, CART seemed to be dominant. It controlled most of the races and most of the "name" drivers, while George's primary (and for a time, only) asset was Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its 500. The 1996 IRL schedule consisted of only three races, including the Indy 500, and many of the drivers were relative unknowns. By 1998, however, the series began to build a following after several competitive events at Texas Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway and the victory by Eddie Cheever, Jr. at the 500, the first owner-driver to win the 500 since A.J. Foyt in 1977. The IRL's Texas race spawned the Hanford wing for CART for its superspeedways and the U.S. 500 saw an enormous increase in positional passing over previous years.

In 1998, CART went public with its stock, and raised $US100 million in the stock offering.

In 2000, Bobby Rahal stepped in as interim president of CART and replaced the PPG Cup (used from 1979–1999) with the Vanderbilt Cup as the series championship trophy. That year, Gil de Ferran of Penske Racing set the world closed-course speed record for a car race at California Speedway in his Marlboro Team Penske Reynard-Honda at 241.428 mph (388.540 km/h) while qualifying for the season ending million-dollar (pursed to the winner) Marlboro 500.[2][3] Despite the considerable drag on the car (inherent of the mandated Hanford MkII rear wing used in CART on the superspeedways at that time) the feat was accomplished on the first lap of qualifying.

In 2000 some CART teams began preparing to leave the series, a move motivated by continuing CART mismanagement, upset engine manufacturers, and sponsors that desired participation at the Indianapolis 500.[citation needed] Also that year the IRL's June 500-kilometer race at Texas saw a gigantic ten-car battle that lasted for the bulk of the event and was won by Scott Sharp in an electrifying battle with Robby McGehee; Eddie Cheever, Jr. also won the IROC race at Michigan International Speedway, giving the IRL a level of bragging rights it previously had not had.

In 2000, Chip Ganassi, while still racing in the CART Series, made the decision to return to the Indy 500 with his drivers, the 1996 CART and U.S. 500 champion Jimmy Vasser, and the 1999 CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya put on a dominating performance, leading 167 of the 200 laps to win. The defeat was somewhat humiliating for the IRL teams, with the Ganassi team's primary advantage being the greater engineering put into the car. Yet, the real winner in the situation was Tony George, who had brought back one of the CART teams, and its sponsor, to race with the IRL cars. A year later, Roger Penske, historically CART and Indianapolis' most successful team owner, also came back to Indianapolis and won leading a sweep of the top six positions by CART drivers.

The turning point for the CART-IRL rivalry may have come in 2001. That year, CART tried to stage a race at the Texas Motor Speedway, the Firestone Firehawk 600; this came after IRL had run its own 500-kilometer races at Texas and the events became headline-grabbing races. However, by this time, IRL teams were using naturally aspirated engines, which allowed them to easily navigate TMS' steep 24-degree banking. CART teams were surprised when the steep banking combined with their cars' turbocharged engines caused several drivers to experience dizziness and disorientation. At the drivers' meeting, 21 out of 25 drivers reported feeling disorientation of some sort. CART was unable to slow the cars down in time to run the race safely (having made no effort to slow the cars down previously despite escalating speeds) and it was postponed and ultimately canceled; this led TMS to sue CART. After it emerged that CART officials had ignored repeated requests to test their cars before the race (even though they were much faster and more powerful than IRL cars), the two parties settled for an estimated $5–7 million. CART lost $1.7 million for the last quarter of 2001 due to money spent on the suit. While the sanctioning body was commended by many for choosing not to put its drivers in danger,[4][5] the cancellation of the race and the ensuing lawsuit was a severe blow to CART's prestige.[4][6]

By November 2001, journalist Brock Yates predicted that CART would be defunct by the end of 2002.[7]

For 2002, Penske and Ganassi became permanent entrants in the IRL, and Andretti Green Racing after the 2002 season, the latter team being co-owned by CART champion Michael Andretti. The Michigan open wheel race – once the U.S. 500, which was created to rival the Indy 500 – became an IRL event for 2002.

Bankruptcy and rebranding to OWRS

The Champ Car World Series logo from 2003–2006

In 2002, FedEx announced that they would end their title sponsorship of the CART series at the conclusion of the racing season. In another blow, Honda and Toyota switched their engine supply from CART to the IRL after 2002. CART decided to rebrand and reform itself. Beginning in 2003, CART began to promote itself as Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

Because of the loss of its title sponsor and two engine providers, CART's shares plummeted to 25¢ (USD) per share. It declared bankruptcy during the 2003 off-season and the assets of CART were liquidated.

Tony George made a bid for certain assets of the company, while a trio of CART owners (Gerald Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi, and Kevin Kalkhoven), along with Dan Pettit, also made a bid, calling their group the Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS). George's offer was to purchase only select company assets, in an effort to eliminate any series that would rival his Indy Racing League. However, if George's bid (which was actually higher than the OWRS bid) had been successful, many vendors that were still owed money by CART would have not been paid. Therefore, a judge ruled that the OWRS group should be the purchaser of CART, which ensured a 25th anniversary season in 2004, running as Champ Car. Open Wheel Racing Series. (OWRS) would later change its name to Champ Car World Series (CCWS) LLC.

Team Rahal moved to the IRL just before the Long Beach GP in 2004. However, several teams stayed with Champ Car, ensuring that the series could continue. Most notable among these was Newman-Haas Racing. The powerful and well-funded team owned by actor Paul Newman and Illinois businessman Carl Haas was adamant on its loyalty to the series and its direction. Another team notable for its loyalty was Dale Coyne Racing, one of the world's oldest continually operating open wheel teams.[8]

OWRS Bankruptcy and Unification of Champ Car with the Indy Racing League

In 2007, with the withdrawal of Bridgestone and Ford Motor Company as presenting sponsors, the official name of the top-tier series promoted by Champ Car became simply the Champ Car World Series. Rumors and accounts of financial troubles, often reported by respected motor sports reporters, plagued the series all during 2007.

By late 2007, it was clear that CCWS lacked the resources to mount another season. Several races in the 2007 season were canceled before they were held, and in fact, the CCWS never had a season where they ran every scheduled race. Rumors and press reports of the financial situation of the series were common, and complicated any future plans.

In early February, 2008, the CCWS Board of Managers authorized bankruptcy, to be filed on February 14, 2008. On February 22, 2008, an agreement in principle was reached and signed that merged the Champ Car Series with the IRL. The memorandum sold the CCWS' sanctioning contracts (notably Long Beach) and intangible assets, along with the Champ Car Mobile Medical Unit (at the time known as the Holmatro Safety Team), to the IRL for $6 million. The document also included a non-compete agreement for Forsythe and Kalkhoven in exchange for $2 million each, provided they paid "certain bills" for the Long Beach bills for 2008 and support the IRL.

The assets of CCWS were sold at auction on June 3, 2008. The league had now officially folded.

In the agreement, the IRL became the owner of all CART and CCWS material and history, so all CART history will become part of the AAA-USAC-IRL history. Therefore, IndyCar events held at traditional CCWS venues (such as Edmonton) are not "inaugural" events, despite press promotions to the contrary.

The IRL also picked up the Edmonton and Surfer's Paradise races for 2008, and revived the Toronto race for the 2009 season, albeit under different promoters.

Newman/Haas Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, Conquest Racing, HVM Racing (without Minardi), and Pacific Coast Motorsports transitioned to the IndyCar Series in the 2008 season. PKV Racing became KV Racing Technology, which took the Team Australia sponsorship from Walker Racing. Failing to make the transition were Forsythe Racing, Walker Racing (except for a joint program with Vision Racing at Edmonton to run Paul Tracy), and Rocketsports.

The first "merged" event was the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 from Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 29, 2008.

On April 8, 2008, in his first merged IndyCar Series event, Graham Rahal drove his Newman/Haas Racing entry to victory in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, marking the first win by a merged team.

Due to a scheduling conflict with the IndyCar Series' Motegi event, the Long Beach race was held on April 20, 2008 as an IRL points-paying event using the CCWS-spec DP01 cars, and was contested entirely by CCWS teams.

Comparison with Formula One

A Champ Car is a single-seat (commonly called open-wheel in the US) racing car. For much of their history Champ Cars have been similar to Formula One cars, although there have traditionally been several key differences between the two.

Over the years, Champ Cars race schedule included high speed oval tracks. The increased stress and speed of these tracks mean that the cars tended to be heavier and have longer wheelbases than F1 cars (increasing stability but decreasing agility). In 2007, there were no oval tracks on the schedule.

When the weight of the driver is factored in, a Champ Car weighs over 27% more than a Formula One Car. The minimum weight for a Champ Car is adjusted from 1,575 lbs based on the weight of the driver compared to the field average; with the driver included, all cars have a minimum weight of 1741 lbs. A Champ Car piloted by 195 lb Paul Tracy (the heaviest driver in the series and 29 lbs heavier than the field average) must weigh at least 1,546 lbs when empty. The minimum weight of a Formula One Car, including the driver, is 620 kg (1,367 lbs). This difference of 374 lbs (169.64 kg) is just over 27% of the F1 car's weight.

Since the late 1960s Champ Cars have used turbocharged engines. Turbos were banned in Formula One on safety grounds in 1989. For some periods of their history, notably in the early 1970s and late 1990s, turbocharging gave Champ Cars up to 300 horsepower (220 kW) more than F1 cars, in the 70s cars had in excess of 1,000 hp. Recently in 1999/2000 the Champ Cars approached 1,000 horsepower (750 kW) before regulations on turbo boost were tightened. The current generation of cars have roughly the same power as F1 cars, Champ Cars having 800 hp (597 kW) on demand and F1 cars having about 775 hp (578 kW) (since F1 switched to V8 engines for the 2006 season), with the turbo used mainly to improve the spectacle rather than lap-times with the so-called 'power-to-pass' or 'push-to-pass' system giving drivers an increased amount of power for a limited duration during the race. Another reason for retaining the turbocharger is the muffling effect it has on the exhaust note helps keep the cars inside noise-limits, particularly at the many city street races on the schedule.

Champ Cars use methanol for fuel rather than gasoline, and refuelling has always been permitted during the race. This is a legacy of a crash at the 1964 Indianapolis 500 involving cars filled with more than 75 US gallons (285 L) of gasoline that killed Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs. Until 1994, when refuelling was re-introduced to F1 (and banned again from 2009 onwards), the coupling for the refuelling hose was a notable difference between Champ Cars and Formula cars.

Champ Cars continue to have sculpted undersides to create ground effect. This innovation was originally created in Formula One by Lotus in 1978, and was immediately used on the Chaparral Champ Car in 1979. F1 banned sculpted undersides in a bid to lower cornering speeds for 1983. In an effort to create better passing opportunities, the new spec Champ Car chassis being introduced in 2007 will generate nearly 50% of the total downforce of the car with sculpted underside tunnels versus the front and rear wings. This will reduce turbulent air behind the cars, enabling easier overtaking.

Unlike in F1, Champ Car teams are not obliged to construct their own chassis, and in recent times have tended to buy chassis constructed by independent suppliers such as Lola, Swift, Reynard, March and Dan Gurney's Eagle. The most notabbale exception was Penske Racing, although they also bought other cars when their own chassis was uncompetitive. Starting in 2007, Champ Car features a single, "spec" chassis, the Panoz DP01, created by Elan Technologies, a racing equipment manufacturer owned by Don Panoz. The spec chassis was introduced to reduce costs for race teams, however Champ Car had essentially been a spec series since 2004, with all teams favoring the Lola chassis mainly because of Reynard's bankruptcy in 2002.

The Formula One Car is a more expensive and technology-centric platform than a Champ Car. This was even the case during the CART PPG era during the mid to late 1990s. At this time global engine manufacturers Toyota, Honda, Mercedes and Ford vied for dominance. Since Champ Car's restructuring, a desire to keep costs down and the existence of one engine manufacturer has helped to create a series with far more parity than its European-based cousin. For instance, a competitive Champ Car team like Newman-Haas Racing team operates on approximately US$20 million per season, while the Ferrari F1 team operates on approximately US$285 million.[9]

Direct comparison

In recent years it has been possible to compare the respective performance of the two series.

The performance superiority of the Formula One machines was first demonstrated in 1989 when Champ Car began to race on a street circuit in downtown Detroit, Michigan that had served as the United States Grand Prix just one year prior. There was no big discrepancy in lap times on this occasion, but this was partly due to a tight second gear chicane that was removed from the circuit for the Champ Car series.

Since 1978 Formula One has made an annual visit to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Champ Car added this circuit to their tour in 2002, making a direct comparison possible.

During the inaugural Champ Car visit in 2002. Former Champ Car Champion Juan Pablo Montoya won the pole position in the Formula One race with a lap time of 1'12.836. Several weeks later, Cristiano da Matta won the pole position in the Champ Car race with a lap time of 1'18.959.

In the Autocourse / CART "Official Champ Car Yearbook" for 2002, the following article appears on page 132, entitled "CART VS. F1":

"With the FedEx Championship Series making its first visit to the track that had hosted the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix since 1978, there were inevitable comparisons between the world's two major open-wheel categories. Admittedly, it was rather like comparing apples and oranges, but it did represent the first opportunity in over two decades to get some idea of the relative performance of Champ Cars and their F1 cousins.

"On the face of it, there was no contest. Cristiano da Matta's pole time of 1m 18.959s was 6.123 seconds shy of 1999 CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya's stunning pole-winning effort aboard the BMW/Williams at the 2002 GP - which was exactly the sort of discrepancy da Matta had predicted in the run-up to the event, any way the fastest time for a Champ Car in the same weekend was only 3.97 seconds above Montoya's record, seted by Tagliani in Practice.

"In CART, meanwhile, Bridgestone's position as sole tire supplier ensured production of a more conservative (i.e., harder) compound, prioritizing durability over ultimate pace. Granted, the F1 tire war was fought on grooved rubber rather than the slicks sported by Champ Cars. But bear in mind that a Champ Car weighed the best part of 400 pounds more that [sic?] its F1 counterpart, and the general conclusion was that CART's machinery stacked up pretty respectably.

"And then there's the 'other' factor. As da Matta observed, 'It's a pretty unfair comparison, since one side spends £100 million more than the other! I think that our designers and engineers are pretty smart if they can get this close with ten percent of the budget.'"

However this does not take into consideration the fact that the big F1 teams build their own chassis and engines.

In 2006, the latest and last time both series raced on the same track, Formula One was 5 to 7 seconds faster than Champ Car. The pole position in Formula 1 was taken by Fernando Alonso in a time of 1'14.942, while Sébastien Bourdais took the pole in 1'20.005 in Champ Car. The fastest lap in the Formula 1 race was 1'15.841 by Kimi Räikkönen, while Sébastien Bourdais' fastest lap was 1'22.325 in the Champ Car race. Bourdais' qualifying effort was almost 1 second off the pace of even the slowest F1 qualifier, Super Aguri's Frank Montagny, who turned in a time of 1'19.152.

At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California on August 20, 2006, Toyota F1 test driver Ricardo Zonta set a new unofficial lap record of 1'06.309, however, this was in an exhibition, not a qualifying or race session.[10][11] The official record time is 1'07.722, set by CART driver Helio Castroneves in a Penske Champ Car in qualifying for the 2000 CART Honda Grand Prix of Monterey. The Toyota record was eclipsed by another unofficial mark set March 10, 2007 by Sébastien Bourdais, who lapped in 1'05.880 piloting the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Panoz DP-01 during Champ Car Spring Training.


Season Driver Team Chassis/Engine Cup Rookie of the Year
SCCA/CART Indy Car Series
1979 United States Rick Mears Penske Racing Penske/Cosworth–Ford United States Bill Alsup
PPG Indy Car World Series – sanctioned by CART (except for Indianapolis 500)
1980 United States Johnny Rutherford Chaparral Racing Chaparral/Cosworth–Ford Australia Dennis Firestone
1981 United States Rick Mears Penske Racing Penske/Cosworth–Ford United States Bob Lazier
1982 United States Rick Mears Penske Racing Penske/Cosworth–Ford United States Bobby Rahal
1983 United States Al Unser Penske Racing Penske/Cosworth–Ford Italy Teo Fabi
1984 United States Mario Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Lola/Cosworth–Ford Colombia Roberto Guerrero
1985 United States Al Unser Penske Racing March/Cosworth–Ford Netherlands Arie Luyendyk
1986 United States Bobby Rahal Truesports March/Cosworth–Ford United States Dominic Dobson
1987 United States Bobby Rahal Truesports Lola/Cosworth–Ford Italy Fabrizio Barbazza
1988 United States Danny Sullivan Penske Racing Penske/Chevrolet Canada John Jones
1989 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Patrick Racing Penske/Chevrolet Mexico Bernard Jourdain
1990 United States Al Unser, Jr. Galles-Kraco Racing Lola/Chevrolet United States Eddie Cheever
1991 United States Michael Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Lola/Chevrolet United States Jeff Andretti
1992 United States Bobby Rahal Rahal/Hogan Racing Lola/Chevrolet Sweden Stefan Johansson
1993 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Newman/Haas Racing Lola/Cosworth-Ford United Kingdom Nigel Mansell
1994 United States Al Unser, Jr. Penske Racing Penske/Ilmor Canada Jacques Villeneuve
1995 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Team Green Racing Reynard/Cosworth–Ford Brazil Gil de Ferran
1996 United States Jimmy Vasser Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard/Honda Italy Alex Zanardi
PPG CART World Series – sanctioned by CART
1997 Italy Alex Zanardi Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard/Honda Canada Patrick Carpentier
FedEx Championship Series – sanctioned by CART
1998 Italy Alex Zanardi Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard/Honda Brazil Tony Kanaan
1999 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard/Honda Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
2000 Brazil Gil de Ferran Penske Racing Reynard/Honda Sweden Kenny Bräck
2001 Brazil Gil de Ferran Penske Racing Reynard/Honda New Zealand Scott Dixon
2002 Brazil Cristiano da Matta Newman/Haas Racing Lola/Toyota Mexico Mario Dominguez
Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford – sanctioned by CART
2003 Canada Paul Tracy Player's/Forsythe Racing Lola/Cosworth–Ford France Sébastien Bourdais
Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford – sanctioned by OWRS
2004 France Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing Lola/Cosworth–Ford United States A. J. Allmendinger
2005 France Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing Lola/Cosworth–Ford Germany Timo Glock
2006 France Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing Lola/Cosworth–Ford Australia Will Power
Champ Car World Series – sanctioned by OWRS
2007 France Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Panoz/Cosworth Netherlands Robert Doornbos
2008 After "unification", Champ Car sanctioned a race at Long Beach where drivers scored points towards IRL title

By team

Team Championships Last
United States Penske Racing 9 2001
United States Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing 8 2007
United States Chip Ganassi Racing 4 1999
United States Truesports 2 1987
United States Chaparral Racing 1 1980
United States Galles-Kraco Racing 1 1990
United States Team Green Racing 1 1995
United States Rahal/Hogan 1 1992
United States Patrick Racing 1 1989
United States Player's/Forsythe Racing 1 2003


Four drivers died in CART-sanctioned events:

See also


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