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Sponsor boost for Toronto, Houston.

Two rounds of the Champ Car World Series look set to benefit from fresh sponsorship deals, with the Grand Prix of Toronto gaining a new title backer and Houston signing a track sponsor that should enable it complete the upgrades requested after 2006.

Ontario's Steelback Brewery is set to be unveiled as the new title sponsor of the Grand Prix of Toronto, the first alternative backer since rival brewery Molson became involved at the city's first Champ Car race 21 years ago. The deal, which should be confirmed at a press conference later today [Tuesday], is expected to run for five years, and will see the event renamed as the Steelback Grand Prix.

"We knew Molson wouldn't be there forever," Grand Prix spokesperson Shannon Davidson told the local Toronto Star newspaper, confirming that there had been talks with several interested parties, "This one showed the most interest in terms of leveraging and promoting the event. Someone who could move fast enough definitely played a part too."

Meanwhile, down in Texas, industrial valve manufacturer JAG Flocomponents was introduced as the naming rights sponsor of the street circuit that plays host to the Grand Prix of Houston, which will now be called 'JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park'.

Grand Prix officials confirmed that, as a result of the sponsorship, major upgrades will be made to the facility for 2007, including significant improvements to the track surface, which came in for criticism when Houston made its CCWS debut in 2006.

"The support of the business community is vital to the success of our event, so we are delighted that JAG has chosen to make this investment in the Grand Prix," said event general manager Chuck Kosich, "The support of JAG Flocomponents will allow us to make investments in our event that bring us closer to our goal of establishing the Grand Prix of Houston as one of the finest street races in the world."

Before finalising plans for the improvements, event Prix officials studied the existing surface and conducted thorough research on possible plans of action. Each driving lane of the racing surface was graded on a standard roughness index in six-foot intervals. Champ Car engineers provided suspension data including pushrod strain, damper travel and vertical body acceleration, while Bridgestone engineers and Champ Car provided other useful information. As a result, race officials decided that track grinding was necessary in order to improve the surface for 2007.

"We recognised the need to improve the surface of the racetrack, but there were many factors to review and a number of possible solutions to consider," said director of operations Kyle Novak, "After extensive research, we believe we have determined a course of action that will produce the best possible results for JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park."

The track is scheduled to be ground from the exit of turn four to entrance of turn six -(Dome Stadium Drive around the Reliant Astrodome - and the exit of turn ten to entrance of turn one - the start-finish straightaway. The track will be ground in approximately four-foot wide swathes, which will leave behind a 'corduroy' finish with 50-60 tiny grooves per foot of width. Work will commence on 24 March after the conclusion of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

"We are very excited to be able to make this investment," Novak concluded, "When the teams from American Le Mans and Champ Car arrive to compete in the 2007 Grand Prix, they will find an improved racetrack that should result in outstanding world-class racing for the fans."


Related Pictures

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Champ Car World Series. 9 July 2006 Molson Grand Prix of Toronto. Toronto Ontario, Canada. daMatta on front straight with toronto skyline.
2006 champcar  11-13 may 2006  grand prix of houston. houston, texas. turn one action
2006 champcar  11-13 may 2006  grand prix of houston. houston, texas. nelson philippe.
Luca Filippi, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, races to a second-place finish Sunday, June 14, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Fillip`s teammate, Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6, won the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, June 14, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Newgarden`s teammate, Luca Filippi, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6, finished second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, takes the chequered flag Sunday, June 14, 2015 to win the Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Newgarden`s teammate, Luca Filippi, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6, finished second. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, races to victory Sunday, June 14, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Newgarden`s teammate, Luca Filippi (rear), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6, finished second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Luca Filippi and Josef Newgarden celebrate with the CFH Racing team after finishing 1-2 in the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden`s car and gloves on Victory Circle after winning the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden celebrates in Victory Circle after winning the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Luca Filippi and Josef Newgarden celebrate in Victory Circle after finishing 1-2 in the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Luca Filippi, Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden celebrate on the podium after the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden celebrates in Victory Circle after winning the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden celebrates in Victory Circle after winning the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden celebrates in Victory Circle after winning the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power out front in the early stages of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The green flag flies to start the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz apexes Turn 9 during practice for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)

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