As the planning for the 2002 Rockingham 500 CART event, Britain's fastest ever motor race, moves into its final month, the date has already been set for the 2003 event at Rockingham Motor Speedway, near Corby in Northamptonshire.

This year the 1.5 mile banked oval track will host "the fastest closed circuit racing in the world" on September 13/14. Next year however, the date will move forward to the Bank Holiday weekend of 3rd and 4th May.

"Its early days yet, we're working flat-out on this year's event, but we've gained one of the best dates possible on both the CART calendar and the British sporting calendar" said David Grace, Chief Executive of Rockingham Motor Speedway. "The May date gives us the opportunity to host a premier British sporting event right at the start of the summer. It gives race fans the ideal start to the motor racing season."

David Grace was quick to point out that the May date does not involve any additional weather risk for the CART FedEx series, which with sustained high speeds of up to 240mph, cannot race in the rain.

"All the meteorological information we have clearly shows that May and September are the driest months of the year. Our May 2003 event may be one or two degrees colder than our current September date, but we will also enjoy the advantage of longer days. We're looking forward to letting our American friends enjoy a perfect English springtime!"

"The 3/4th May weekend is a very big holiday and in conjunction with the promoters we thought it was a very advantageous move" said Chris Pook, CEO of Championship Automobile Racing Teams. "It is lovely in England in the spring. It's the sensible thing for us to do. In the spring the weather is improving in the sense as you're moving towards summer so temperatures are rising, days are getting longer. It is part of an overall schedule that reflects the diverse challenges that make CART champions the most versatile drivers of all, featuring ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits."

But fans don't need to wait until the New Year, Rockingham and David Grace are looking forward to this year's race on September 13 and 14th.

"We are looking forward to a great event" said Grace. "CART, its teams and the drivers are very proud of their accessibility and great value for money. From every seat you get a great view of the entire track. The best news is there are still a few seats left - if you phone us quick!"

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