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Champ car Champ Sebastien Bourdais helps

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Sebastien Bourdais helps Grand Prix of Houston Kick Off Construction Efforts


HOUSTON, Mar. 27, 2006 - The Grand Prix of Houston is now just 45 days away,

and officials kicked off the final phase of the construction effort today

with a groundbreaking ceremony at Reliant Park, the future site of race on

May 11-13. Sebastien Bourdais, the two-time defending Champ Car World

Series champion, was on hand to serve as the guest of honor.


During the ceremony, Bourdais used a forklift to drop the ceremonial first

piece of concrete barrier that will make up the sidewall for the Grand Prix

of Houston course. Over the next month, more than 1,600 of the 9,000 lbs

concrete blocks will be put in place along the racetrack, which will be a

temporary 1.7 mile course around Reliant Park. Bourdais, the most dominating

driver in Champ Car over the past two years, was impressed with what he saw.


"This is going to be a very exciting venue for Champ Car," said Bourdais.

"Houston is an important market for us so I was very happy to hear that the

Grand Prix of Houston would be on the schedule for 2006. The layout looks

great and we're looking forward to an exciting race in May."


Bourdais and his fellow drivers will contest the Grand Prix of Houston at

night, and eighteen stadium light towers will be installed around the course

to illuminate the racetrack. Timing and scoring loops are also being

permanently installed under the concrete of Reliant Park to enable scoring

systems to synch with transponders in the racecars.


The finished product will be a 1.7 mile temporary street course that is

designed to optimize the experience for the fans and drivers alike. The

circuit will include nine turns, including turn four, a sweeping turn around

the historic Reliant Astrodome. That turn will take the drivers into a short

straightaway by Reliant Stadium, before two quick turns position the cars

towards the finish line in front of Reliant Arena.


The massive construction effort includes much more than just a racetrack. To

accommodate the more than 150,000 fans that are expected to attend the

event, eight grandstands, multiple corporate hospitality areas, and general

admission viewing areas will be added throughout the 345-acre Reliant Park

facility. Five pedestrian bridges will be added to enable fans to cross over

the track into the infield. When the gates open on May 11, fans will also

find a festival of activities within that infield, including a family fun

zone, beer gardens, go-kart racing, and much more.


Grand Prix of Houston officials started the construction effort in January

by overhauling concrete in sections of the parking lot at Reliant Park in

order to create optimum conditions for the racetrack. The construction

schedule also included a break of approximately a month while Reliant Park

hosted the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo*, which concluded last week.

Grand Prix of Houston construction now moves into its final phase, and

officials are very optimistic about the progress.


"We are excited to get started again at Reliant Park, and we are now right

on schedule for the Grand Prix of Houston," said Martin Thake, Director of

Operations for the event and a man known internationally for developing

great racetracks. "Reliant Park is wonderful facility to build a racetrack,

and we believe that the drivers, teams, and fans will be delighted with the

results when the gates open on May 11."




About the Grand Prix of Houston

The Grand Prix of Houston will take place May 11 - 13 at Reliant Park in

Houston, Texas. The event will feature an unprecedented combination of

racing and activities, highlighted by world-class events from American Le

Mans Series and Champ Car. The Grand Prix of Houston will be held on a

temporary 1.7 mile street course and will be contested under the lights of

Reliant Park, making the event Champ Car's first-ever night time street

race. In addition to the high-speed thrills of world-class racing, a wide

variety of entertainment and activities is being scheduled for people of all

ages to create a spectacular three days and nights of speed and

entertainment. Tickets are available online at grandprixofhouston.com or

ticketmaster.com, by phone at 713.629.3700, in person at the Reliant Stadium

South Box Office, and at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers including

Houston-area locations of Foley's, Fiesta, and Wherehouse Music.


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