press release

Texaco Press Release - Cart Auto Racing Roars Into Downtown Houston for 1998 Texaco Grand Prix


HOUSTON, July 29 -- The City of Houston, Texaco Inc. and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) have agreed in principle to stage a major international auto race, The Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, on the streets of downtown Houston premiering Oct. 4, 1998. The agreement calls for the race to be held annually through the year 2003.

Anchored by the George R. Brown Convention Center, downtown Houston will be the setting of this exciting, premier grand prix and a series of support races. The race will be sanctioned by CART which is an open wheel Indy car series featuring 900 horsepower cars capable of speeds in excess of 230 miles per hour.

The 1.68-mile street course will have 10 turns -- traveling in front of the Convention Center on Chenevert and as far out as Clay, Austin and Capitol Streets. This location provides an ideal backdrop to showcase the City for an international television audience in 188 countries, while minimizing traffic flow disruptions.

Management of the event will be under the auspices of Texaco Houston Grand Prix LLC, a joint venture between Texaco Inc. and Carl Haas. In addition to The Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, Haas is the race organizer at the historic Milwaukee (Wis.) Mile and is an owner/director of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Houston Mayor Bob Lanier, said, "Houston's stunning skyline and the George R. Brown Convention Center will be fantastic backdrops for this premier race. The television exposure will help drive home the improvements Houston has made in downtown revitalization. I appreciate the efforts of Texaco and the Newman/Haas organization to bring this great event to Houston in first class style."

Glenn F. Tilton, Senior Vice President of Texaco Inc. and President of Texaco's Global Business Unit, said, "Texaco is proud to sponsor this premier event in the City of Houston. It lets us give something back to a community that has been important to our company and home to many Texaco employees for decades. Partnering with Carl Haas on this project will ensure that the Grand Prix exceeds everyone's expectations."

Carl Haas said, "Houston will be one of the finest city street race layouts ever. The natural boundaries formed by the George R. Brown Convention Center and the city skyline, combined with wide streets and park settings inside the circuit, will create a unique ambiance and atmosphere as well as provide a layout for competitive racing."

CART will stage a total of 19 races on four continents in 1998 -- a mix of oval tracks, road circuits and street courses -- in its PPG CART World Series. In addition to Houston, street races will be held in Detroit, Long Beach, Calif., Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, and Queensland, Australia.

Andrew Craig, President and Chief Executive Officer of CART said, "Houston is the type of market we desire to compete in on an annual basis; it's a world-class city and our Series is truly international in scope. Twelve countries, encompassing five continents are represented in our owner and driver ranks. This meshes well within the cultural diversity of a multi-ethnic city like Houston. I believe this event has the potential to quickly become one of our premier venues."

In addition to the CART Indy car race, The Texaco Grand Prix of Houston will feature several additional support events. Also planned for the week leading up to the race are a pro-am style golf tournament and charity ball among other activities.

The George R. Brown Convention Center will serve as headquarters for the event. All competing teams will be paddocked on the Center's 375,000 square foot first level. The upper levels of the Convention Center will house everything from race control and a media center to VIP hospitality accommodations. Pit lane of the race circuit will be constructed directly in front of the Center.

The agreement in principle between The City of Houston and Texaco Houston Grand Prix LLC to hold the event subject to final contract terms and City Council approval.

Tickets to the event will go on sale soon. The organizers also expect to open a sales office in downtown Houston in the near future.

Updated: July 1997