Two items of immense interest today.
ANOTHER WOMAN FOR INDYCAR
Several weeks ago, I wrote in a newspaper column that if the IZOD IndyCar Series wanted to set itself apart, it would become the league of women drivers.
I said that it already had Danica Patrick, Milka Duno and Sarah Fisher and that, if it was smart, it would encourage the elevation of Indy Lights runners Pippa Mann and Ana Beatriz to the big time, help to bring back Champ Car veteran Kathryn Legge and go hunting for Formula Atlantic standout Simona De Silvestro.
Well, you can’t have everything, it seems, but you can have some things.
Last night, Indianapolis-based HVM Racing announced that it had signed De Silvestro for the 2010 Indy car season with sponsorship from Stargate Resistance (an online game) and secondary sponsorship from FireSky, Cheyenne Mountain Games and Cardinal Technologies (other online gaming developers) and Bernard Richards Manufacture (a French watch company).
De Silvestro will also lead the "Do Not Text ‘n Drive" campaign, which is designed to increase public awareness about the dangers of texting and driving (which was the subject of colleague Lorraine Sommerfeld’s column in Toronto Star Wheels last Saturday and which is online now at wheels.ca).
For De Silvestro, who’s 21 and from Switzerland, the 2010 Indy car season will be her sixth year in North American open-wheel racing. Last year – I saw her race at Mosport and was really impressed – she won four races in the Atlantic series and won four pole positions. In all, she had nine podiums in 2009 and finished third in the series behind Jonathan Summerton and John Edwards. In so doing, she became the first woman to earn the most wins, pole positions and to lead the most laps in a single season in Atlantics.
The Indy car season opens in Brazil on March 14. De Silvestro and Patrick (Duno and Fisher only race the ovals) will go head-to-head in the Honda Indy Toronto on July 18.
This is great news for the series and you really hope it exploits her signing. Maybe Danica won't be all that thrilled but competition on as well as off the track never hurt anybody and IndyCar could - and should - thrive, as a result.
The CNN International news organization - TV news, primarily, with an increasing presence in digital delivery of news via the Internet - will sponsor the new Lotus F1 team, it was announced today.
CNN's world-famous logo will appear on the cars and uniforms of drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli hrough the 2010 season and beyond.
"The combination of two such iconic and aspirational global brands fits perfectly with CNN's worldwide reach and brand positioning," said Rani R. Raad, senior vice-president of CNN International Advertising Sales, in a release.
"This partnership . . . takes CNN into a new era of marketing and promotions and puts us in front of a worldwide audience of millions."
Once upon a time, before the recession, media companies frequently sponsored race teams. The magazine Newsweek and the wire service company Reuters were frequently involved with teams in Formula One. In North America, TV networks and radio and TV stations were often associate sponsors of cars entered in the Indianapolis 500.
Other than the Olympics, Formula One is frequently cited as the best bet for companies and corporations interested in expanding either their business or reputations via advertising sponsorships.
The Grand prix season opens a week from next weekend in Bahrain.