The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in the heart of Mexico City is full speed ahead to make ready for the start of the three-day weekend of the Grand Premio Telmex-Tecate presented by Banamex.

This will be the season's finale race for the Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford. The schedule is full, with five support races - Clio Cup, Formula Renault, Mustangs, Shifter Karts and T4.

Champ Car has 19 drivers entered, with two new names. MICHAEL VALIANTE will be running #15 Wildlife Conservation Network as a second Reynard entry for Walker Racing. Walker ran the car at Surfer's Paradise in Australia with Aussie driver, DAVID BESNARD, who finished seventh. Valiante comes from the Champ Car Toyota Atlantic Series. TARSO MARQUES returns to race the #19 American Medical Response Lola for Dale Coyne Racing, replacing JAREK JANIS of the Czech Republic, who raced in Australia, having replaced Dale Coyne regular GASTON MAZZACANE, who had some money problems. All were told at the time that Mazzacane would be back next year for a full season with DCR, and that Janis would finish out this season.

The 2004 Champ Car championship is coming down to the wire, with the Newman/Haas drivers going for the Vanderbilt Cup and all it includes. The NHR drivers will finish one-two, and all that's left to be determined is the order - current leader SEBASTIAN BOURDAIS or BRUNO JUNQUEIRA. The two are separated by only 22 points. The odds are long that Junqueira can pull it out of the hat to beat Bourdais, who has but to finish ninth or better to claim the championship. Junqueira will have to take all the possible points (35) and have his team-mate retire from the race. It would be a wonderful birthday present for the Brazilian, who turns 28 on Thursday.

The odds would appear to be in Bourdais favour as this season, he has the most wins (six), the most poles (seven), the most laps led (443), and the best qualifying average (1.7).

The avid Mexican fans turn out in droves for this race weekend, and last year's crowd of more than 402,413 - of which 221,011 were on Sunday - set a new record for the largest road racing event in North America. The fans have four Mexican drivers for whom to cheer: MARIO DOMINGUEZ, ROBERTO GONZALEZ, MICHEL JOURDAIN Jr and RODOLFO LAVIN.

The Champ Car safety team will be out in full force for this last race, bringing with them to Mexico three safety trucks, two jet dryers, the mobile medical centre and the MR10 for the pit lane. The team hasn't yet heard if it will be back next season.

This weekend a large contingent of NASCAR officials are expected, probably sometime Saturday after some of the NASCAR racing at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona. Among those expected are JERRY KAPROTH (NASCAR R&D centre/safety), BOB LEWIS (medical) and DENISE MEEKS (Medical Liaison Manager).

NASCAR will run a Busch Series race at the Rodriguez Circuit on 8 March 2005. It will run on the road course-which is 2.786-miles for Champ Cars, with some course configuration changes including a chicane.

There are a lot of other Mexican race types already on site.

One such person was CHACHO MEDINA, who does Formula One commentary for the Mexican broadcasts on Televisa, also is involved with the Cancun Grand Prix, announced last Monday in Mexico by the state government. It is set for 2006 (or 2007). He is the sporting advisor to the government. The promoters are an already-established group of Cancun investors, called Caribbean Investments Enterprise.

The track will be near the Cancun airport and far away from the beach, because of the sand problems. The HERMAN TILKE-designed circuit will be almost five kilometres long, almost all flat, and have two tunnels, which will provide some elevation changes. The course will not be symmetrical - turns will be different around the track. Medina characterised the track as challenging and interesting.

Medina has F1 background going back to 1960 and the first Mexican Formula One races. He was the FIA representative for nine years. He also runs a Mexican road rally called Desafio de la Frontera, which will start 22 April 2005 in Mexico and finish in San Diego on 29 April 2005.

LUIS DIAZ, known as 'Chapulin' or 'Grasshopper', drove this season for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Grand American Series, and finished ninth in the Daytona Prototype standings with 11 of the 12 races. Chapulin will be doing TV work this weekend as a 'specialist' for TV Azteca. He raced here last year in Champ Car with Walker Racing and two years ago as the replacement driver for the injured ADRIAN FERNANDEZ.

Diaz doesn't know yet whether he will be racing with Ganassi next season, as the decision to run one or two cars will be made in the next two weeks. Only SCOTT PRUETT, this year's DP co-champion, has a secured contract. The other Ganassi drivers are DP co-champion, MAX PAPIS and JIMMY MORALES. Diaz said he is the only Ganassi driver here this weekend. He really likes the series and hopes to continue with Ganassi next season.